The Covid-19 tracker app showing infections in Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and East Northants

People using the app are helping vital research

An app is helping experts understand coronavirus symptoms and how fast it is spreading around the UK
An app is helping experts understand coronavirus symptoms and how fast it is spreading around the UK

An app launched by top scientists is helping vital research on Covid-19 and showing the estimated rate of infection across the UK.

The Covid Symptom tracker app has been developed by top scientists and aims to increase understanding of the virus as well as how fast it is spreading.

More than 2.5m people in the UK are using the app to report if they have Covid-19 symptoms or not and this has given scientists an idea of the spread of coronavirus.

Here is the app's front page as it will appear on your phone

Across Corby, East Northants, Kettering, and Wellingborough there are 4,840 people currently using the app.

An interactive map shows East Northants has the most users, with 1,694 contributors and 1.2 per cent of people with symptomatic Covid-19 (estimated).

In Kettering, 1,403 users are reporting to the app and 1.3 per cent of people have symptomatic Covid-19 (estimated).

Wellingborough and Corby both have 1.1 per cent of people with symptomatic Covid-19 (estimated) but Corby has the fewest users of the app, with 766 contributors compared to 977 in Wellingborough.

The Covid Symptom Tracker has mapped the data it has collected so far

This is an estimate of symptomatic Covid-19 cases because there is the possibility there are undetected asymptomatic cases.

It is also possible some people with Covid-19 symptoms might be ill with something else and a lack of testing outside of those needing hospital care means we cannot be sure on the exact figures.

However, a lack of widespread testing is why large-scale symptom tracking could be useful to scientists studying the virus.

The app has been developed by scientists from King's College London (KCL), Guys and St Thomas' Hospitals in London and with ZOE Global Ltd, a health science company.

The project's leader, Dr Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at KCL, said: "The more people who use the app, the better the real-time data we have to combat the crisis in this country."

The developers say the app has specific research aims, including: "Better understand symptoms of Covid-19, understand how fast the virus is spreading in your area, identify high risk areas in the country, identify who is most at risk by better understanding symptoms linked to health conditions."

The app is not intended as a diagnostic tool, but rather a way for scientists to study a large number of people from a distance.

Once you sign up for the app, you give your location and then report how you are feeling everyday. If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or are feeling unwell, you report your symptoms.

You can report for yourself and others.

On protecting users' data, the developers said: "We take data security very seriously and will handle your data with huge respect. Your data is protected by the European Union's "General Data Protection Regulation" (GDPR). It will only be used for health research and will not be used for commercial purposes."

You can download the app from your device's app store for free.

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