Coronavirus symptom tracker app released: population willingness to help is required

Coronavirus symptom tracker app released: population willingness to help is required

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COVID-19 Symptom Tracker is designed to support research

The corona virus has kept the world in suspense for several months. A lot has already been found out about the virus - a lot is largely unclear. A new app is now to help research the spread of the virus. The researchers rely on the helpfulness of the population.

An app developed at the University Medical Center Freiburg is designed to improve understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The new app with the name "COVID-19 Symptom Tracker" should lead to better diagnostics. Anyone who wants to help can participate. On the basis of the anonymised data obtained in this way, the course, frequency and chronological sequence of certain complaints as well as indications of risk factors in connection with COVID-19 are to be evaluated.

Anonymous data helps with research

First, anonymous health-related data and known previous illnesses of the users are recorded in the app. The health status of the participants is then documented and submitted anonymously using daily questionnaires. On the basis of the data, the Freiburg research team can evaluate the course, frequency and chronological sequence of certain complaints, as well as indications of risk factors. Of course, the app cannot replace a doctor's visit.

App is said to help reduce spread

"The app opens up a new dimension in data acquisition," explains Professor Dr. Frederik Wenz, the senior medical director of the Freiburg University Hospital. The app could provide important information about the course of COVID-19 and possibly even help to recognize diseases earlier and thus reduce the spread.

We still don't know enough

"Our starting point is that we know relatively little about the course of symptoms in COVID-19," added study leader Dr. Dr. Martin Zens. Because in addition to frequently described symptoms such as cough and fever, diarrhea, shortness of breath, headache and other complaints such as loss of smell and taste also appear as signs of SARS-CoV-2 infection. "This is not easy, especially for general practitioners in emergency rooms," says Zens. If the smear test is positive, those affected are sent to home quarantine - often with a bad feeling because it is unclear how the disease will develop.

App is to help determine the number of unreported cases

"An important aspect is the high number of unreported cases of corona-infected people who are not recognized or tested," added the deputy study director Dr. Fabian Duttenhöfer added. The app could provide important data to better understand the disease and its spread.

Via the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker app

The app has now been released for iOS - an Android version will follow in a few days. German, English, Spanish and French are currently supported as languages. The development was funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg. All data is anonymized and encrypted and stored on a server in Germany.

Daily time expenditure of around three minutes

Anyone over the age of 18 can participate. The app should preferably be downloaded if there are unclear symptoms or if contact with an infected person is suspected. After completing the basic questionnaire, the app asks for the current symptoms every day. The time required for this is about three minutes a day. "Time well spent," emphasizes Dr. Zens. He hopes for support from the population, because "the more people take part, the more valid the findings become." (Vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Universitätsklinikum Freiburg: COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App helps research (published: April 14th, 2020),
  • COVID-19 Symptom Tracker (accessed: April 14, 2020),

Video: Webinar: COVID Symptom Tracker on Predicting COVID-19 in the UK (October 2022).