Most people will combat and recover from COVID-19 in their homes, isolated from their friends and family. Much of the information being collected today by the healthcare system occurs when a person is interacting with their care team, leaving most data until that point unreported. BEAT19 is a way to learn about what is happening to the millions of people who experience COVID-19 outside a hospital. The BEAT19 data will be used to define the natural history of infection and to look for patterns, formulate and test hypotheses. For example, do people with high blood pressure who contract COVID-19 and take an ACE inhibitor fare better than people who take a beta blocker?
“The BEAT19 online trial has the potential to improve our understanding of COVID-19 and help public health experts make evidence-based decisions,” said Vikash Mansinghka, Ph.D., principal research scientist and principal investigator of the MIT Probabilistic Computing Project. “The data could inform critical research decisions, smooth the path for developing a vaccine, and reveal potential therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients and the healthcare professionals caring for them.”
“Our team has taken an initial look at the BEAT19 data and were able to quickly screen for anomalies. As BEAT19 enrollment grows, we may be able to identify early signals about risk factors and clinical presentations that can be confirmed or corrected by doctors,” added Ulrich Schaechtle, PhD, xCures-MIT BEAT19 collaboration research lead and MIT Probabilistic Computing Project scientist. “The ability to rapidly assess the data accumulated in the registry means researchers can account for additional factors in their research for a vaccine and treatment, which is critical as the world races to find a solution for the millions of people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
BEAT19 is designed to capture how people are feeling and learn from their experience during COVID-19. To really understand the infection, it is necessary to start tracking symptoms before people are diagnosed, to establish a baseline. During the illness, many BEAT19 participants are taking medications for their ongoing conditions and some appear be taking novel treatments, such as Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) + azithromycin. The registry is gathering and analyzing real-time information from people about their daily COVID-19-related experiences. This approach is a proven and very efficient way to generate real-world effectiveness data on emerging therapies that can help guide clinical research.
“The ability to effectively crowd-source data in an effort to solve a global pandemic is proof of the impact health technology and innovation can have on our world,” said Erica Frank, M.D., MPH, FACPM, professor and Canada Research chair in Preventive Medicine and Population Health, University of British Columbia. “While the threat of COVID-19 continues, people can participate in finding a cure while practicing physical distancing and sheltering at home. People-powered research can move faster than traditional approaches and bring together significant new insights from different areas of expertise to solve a massive global health problem. It’s truly inspiring, and we are proud to volunteer for this effort.”
People, regardless of their current health status, can join BEAT19 by completing a simple enrollment survey and agreeing to participate through the study’s website. The data collected is de-identified to keep the data secure and private, then it is made available as a resource for researchers. As more biopharmaceutical companies begin researching COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, they need to access to vital disease-progression information that is usually only captured by care providers.
“In this unprecedented time, we need to move with urgency to focus resources where they will help people immediately,” said Mika Newton, CEO of xCures, Inc. “Simply put, we knew researchers needed more and early data about COVID-19. Our team recognized the possibility to apply our experience in accelerating clinical research to the battle at hand, and that doing this quickly could save many lives. The sooner we can answer the many open and important questions about COVID-19, the sooner we can get to our new normal. There is no cost to participate, and registrants can be proud that they acted and played their part in the clinical research needed to combat COVID-19. Together let’s Beat19!”
More information about the BEAT19 study can be found here.
BEAT19 is a people-powered study, registered on clinicaltrials.gov, designed to understand the natural history of the coronavirus infection before, during and after symptoms, and to understand how pre-existing conditions, medications, and other factors affect disease progression. The BEAT19 registry is used to gather knowledge about new treatments faster than can be done in clinical trials. Participants are everyday people, who might or might not have COVID-19. They all provide confidential data, using a short daily survey sent via email.
If new knowledge (a signal) emerges from the data, then participants whose data contributed to the signal may be contacted for approval to request additional information. This is only done if the knowledge merits deeper exploration.