Breathing rate changes could signal Covid-19

Changes in people’s breathing rate overnight may help detect Covid-19 before symptoms before they start, say Australian researchers. 

The study, ‘Analyzing changes in respiratory rate to predict the risk of Covid-19 infection’ and was published in PLOS ONE in early December.

The researchers developed a model based on a respiratory rate that was able to identify 20% of Covid-19 positive individuals prior to the onset of symptoms and 80% of COVID-19 positive individuals by the third day of symptoms. 

The study’s aim was to determine if changes in respiratory rate could serve as a leading indicator of SARS-CoV-2 infections. 

A total of 271 individuals – 190 males and 81 females with a median age of 37 years who experienced symptoms consistent with Covid-19 – were included. Participants numbering 81 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 190 tested negative; these 271 individuals collectively contributed 2672 samples or days of data.

Healthy days numbering 1856 were recorded, 231 days while infected with Covid-19, and 585 while negative for Covid-19 but experiencing symptoms. 

The study used a computer simulation or mathematical model to predict an outcome. 

The original values put into the model may have come from real-world measurements such as past spread of the disease used to model its future spread.

Click here to access the study.