COVID-19 Citizen Science Launched By UCSF

Joining a new UC San Francisco study on COVID-19 is easy as picking up your smartphone.

The study is called “COVID-19 Citizen Science,” and participants simply download the app and answer daily questions about their health and lifestyle.

“[The study] will help us very rapidly fight the coronavirus and learn more about it,” said UCSF Professor Gregory Marcus, “we’re able to collect data remotely, and importantly, in real-time in a longitudinal and perspective way.”

If users agree to terms, GPS location data can be used to aid in the research. Daily questions will cover a variety of lifestyle topics including exercise and sleep patterns.  Researchers say their goal is to reach 1 million users for this real-time study in epidemiology.

“We can look at how smoking, vaping, marijuana use, and those sorts of activities and exposures influence risk,” said Marcus. "We can also look at the relative influence of other medical conditions.”

The sign-up process takes about 10 minutes and perspective users can get involved by texting ‘COVID’ to 41411.

According to the UCSF web page, researchers are asking each participant to recruit at least five more participants to grow the scale of the study exponentially. They say that a greater number of participants will not only increase the possibility of a statistically valid finding, but also have the ability to spread and grow faster than the virus itself.