Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In PloS one ; h5-index 176.0

Pandemic scenarios like SARS-Cov-2 require rapid information aggregation. In the age of eHealth and data-driven medicine, publicly available symptom tracking tools offer efficient and scalable means of collecting and analyzing large amounts of data. As a result, information gains can be communicated to front-line providers. We have developed such an application in less than a month and reached more than 500 thousand users within 48 hours. The dataset contains information on basic epidemiological parameters, symptoms, risk factors and details on previous exposure to a COVID-19 patient. Exploratory Data Analysis revealed different symptoms reported by users with confirmed contacts vs. no confirmed contacts. The symptom combination of anosmia, cough and fatigue was the most important feature to differentiate the groups, while single symptoms such as anosmia, cough or fatigue alone were not sufficient. A linear regression model from the literature using the same symptom combination as features was applied on all data. Predictions matched the regional distribution of confirmed cases closely across Germany, while also indicating that the number of cases in northern federal states might be higher than officially reported. In conclusion, we report that symptom combinations anosmia, fatigue and cough are most likely to indicate an acute SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Melms Leander, Falk Evelyn, Schieffer Bernhard, Jerrentrup Andreas, Wagner Uwe, Matrood Sami, Schaefer Jürgen R, Müller Tobias, Hirsch Martin

2021