Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is finalising the release of a contact tracing app designed to slow the rate of infection for COVID-19. The tracing app, developed by the digital unit NHSx, is based on the evidence provided by a team of Oxford epidemiologists, mathematical modellers and ethicists in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, based at the Big Data Institute.

People Wearing Face Mask Using Smart Phone App in City Street to Aid Contact Tracing in Response to the 2019-20 Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 tracing app will be released as part of a broader test, track and trace strategy devised to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The app uses simple Bluetooth technology that records close proximity contacts between two smartphone users. If a user then develops symptoms, they can choose to anonymously alert the contacts with whom they have been in close proximity.

Professor Christophe Fraser, co-lead on the mobile tracing app programme at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine explains, “Our studies identified very early on that a large proportion of infections happen before people develop any symptoms. Once we understand how much silent transmission is happening, we realise a rapid and widespread solution is needed to capture and notify close contacts of a suspected case. We now have a large team of manual contact tracers undergoing training, but we know from our experience early on in the epidemic that manual contact tracing alone wasn’t fast enough to stay on top of the virus. Our evidence suggests that the app could provide the most effective early warning system, as soon as someone first develops symptoms. Success will rely on close integration of the app into a coordinated test and trace programme. The app is being fine-tuned ready for launch to ensure if can reduce the greatest number of onward infections and help to save many lives.”

Read the full story on the Big Data Institute website

Find out more about the contact tracing app on the Fraser Group website

This story is also featured on the University of Oxford website

Similar stories

Risk of rare blood clotting higher for COVID-19 than for vaccines

Coronavirus COVID-19 Research

COVID-19 leads to a several-times higher risk of cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) blood clots than current COVID-19 vaccines.

Alternating vaccines trial expands to include two additional vaccines

Clinical Trials Coronavirus COVID-19 General

Researchers running the Com-Cov study, launched in February to investigate alternating doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine, have today announced that the programme will be extended to include the Moderna and Novavax vaccines in a new study.

Oxford medical students launch flagship raffle in aid of NHS heroes and lifesaving medical equipment

General

Tingewick, a society formed of medical students from Oxford University, are hosting a virtual charity raffle. With over 70 amazing prizes, ranging from Truck festival tickets to restaurant vouchers to bags of books and even a bike, the raffle is an exciting way to celebrate lockdown lifting by supporting many wonderful Oxfordshire businesses whilst raising lots of money for charity.

Asthma drug budesonide shortens recovery time in non-hospitalised patients with COVID-19

Clinical Trials Coronavirus COVID-19 Research

Inhaled budesonide, a common corticosteroid, is the first widely available, inexpensive drug found to shorten recovery times in COVID-19 patients aged over 50 who are treated at home and in other community settings, reports the PRINCIPLE trial in 1,779 participants.

UK and EU regulators conclude benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh the risks

Coronavirus COVID-19 General

Today, the medical regulators in the UK and Europe have announced their conclusions from their reviews of very rare cases of unusual blood clots in people who have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.

Link between COVID-19 infection and subsequent mental health and neurological conditions found

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

One in three COVID-19 survivors received a neurological or psychiatric diagnosis within six months of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, an observational study of more than 230,000 patient health records published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal estimates. The study looked at 14 neurological and mental health disorders.