(Image credit: UCSF) (Image credit: UCSF)

UCSF’s Covidseeker to Track the Coronavirus with Cellphone Data

Participants Can Donate Their Google Location History to Promote a Safer Reopening.

Scientists at UC San Francisco are inviting the public to contribute the location data that Google collects from their mobile devices to a new study called Covidseeker, which aims to improve contact tracing efforts and help scientists understand how the coronavirus is spreading from person to person.

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” said George Rutherford, MD, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics and principal investigator of UCSF’s contract with the state of California to train contact tracers. “We need to use real data to get the kind of estimates we need to decide when and where to reopen, and how to do so safely.”

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Rather than using Bluetooth beacons to detect phones that are nearby, the Covidseeker is a GPS-based retroactive contact-tracing tool for alerting users about contact with SARS-CoV-2–infected individuals, identifying businesses that were visited by someone who later tested positive for COVID-19. UCSF Innovation Ventures is seeking partners to devleop and commercialize the technology for applications related to COVID-19, other infectious diseases, treating obesity, and controlling smoking or alcohol addiction. Tech Scouts should please view the UCSF Office of Technology Licensing page and also check out this and other research in the UCSF multidisciplinary collaboration by exploring the map below.