Natural Cycles on Friday announced the release of a new function on its fertility app to help users track potential COVID-19 symptoms. CEO Elina Berglund remarked that "the last few weeks we have been seeing changes in how our users use the app as the situation in the world is rapidly changing due to the new coronavirus," so the company "immediately dedicated internal resources to release our COVID-19 symptom trackers functionality to users everywhere on an expedited timeline."
The optional Natural Cycles trackers allow users to keep tabs on their own symptoms in real time and share them with their healthcare providers, as well as track a negative or positive COVID-19 test. The Natural Cycles app is based on an algorithm that uses a woman's individual basal body temperature to determine her daily fertility status. As users are already taking their temperature each morning with their Natural Cycles thermometer, the company said combining this with the COVID-19 symptom tracker "will provide a unique opportunity in real time to follow the development of the virus."
Natural Cycles, which says it has seen a "spike" in temperature data being added over the past few weeks, noted that it has received inquiries from "third-party institutions looking for data of this kind" to help support COVID-19 research.
The FDA approved the Natural Cycles contraception app in 2018, with the agency describing it at the time as "the first mobile medical application that can be used as a method of contraception to prevent pregnancy."