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Online research on gastrointestinal symptoms predicted an increase in Covid-19 cases weeks later, according to researchersMassachusetts General Hospital has found a new early warning system for pandemic hotspots.
Researchers at top hospital in Boston compared the search interest for loss of taste and appetite and diarrhea with the reported impact of Covid-19 in 15 US states from January 20 to April 20.Alphabet Inc.’s online tool Google Trends found that search volume was most strongly associated with cases in New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and Illinois – states with high disease weights – three to four weeks later.
The research, published in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, showed that the same approach was used to pandemic monitoring flu trends More than a decade ago it could be developed for the Koran virus, the hospital said in a report this month. Patients with Covid-19 often report gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, of interest for the study.
“Our data underscore the importance of gastrointestinal symptoms as a potential progenitor of Covid-19 infection and suggest that Google Trends can be a valuable tool for predicting outbreaks of CV events.” Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist and director of Mass General’s gastrointestinal motility lab, and colleagues wrote in the study.
Scientists are also testing for traces of the Koran virus in effluent to locate places where Covid-19 is spreading.