I think you already know that Apple has teamed up with Google to work on a universal system of tracking patients COVID-19 for Android and iOS. A new initiative the two companies quickly became one of the most discussed topics in the Internet space. Still surveillance, even if it is protected and aimed at the welfare of the users remains surveillance, not to mention its questionable effectiveness in combating the spread of coronavirus infection. But Apple is not just to be a bystander in this story, but really to save lives by using their devices. If I wanted to.

A few weeks ago in the New York Times appeared an article of a doctor in an emergency Hospital center Bellevue in new York, Richard Levitan. He said that during the pandemic coronavirus met many cases of hidden hypoxia manifest in patients COVID-19. According to him, these are patients who suffered from a mild form of pneumonia, had trouble breathing, but either didn’t know about it, or simply ignored. As a result, some of them, despite the fact that no symptoms of the disease do not show just died without getting timely medical aid.

Apple Watch and the oxygen in the blood

Apple has the opportunity, albeit indirect, to help users suffering from coronavirus infection and hypoxia, and it is – Apple Watch. Few know, but the signature smart watch of the company are able to produce measurements of oxygen levels in the blood, radiating light waves of two spectra: red and infrared. This methodology is based on the ability of the hemoglobin (protein that carries oxygen) to absorb light depending on the degree of oxygen saturation. Simply put, the darker the blood, the more oxygen and Vice versa.

But it is in theory. In practice, Apple has no special, which would have provided the performance measure (actually, maybe there is, but to release it to the people the company is not ready) or permission from Management on sanitary inspection behind quality of foodstuff and medicines of the USA. Perhaps, the latter aspect is even more important, since the presence of the certificate would enable Apple to release an update that provides the mechanism for measurement of the saturation.

Pulse oximeter in the Apple Watch

Why Apple can’t get this permission? The fact that the American regulator has a list of special requirements for the devices measure blood oxygen, which goes against what is offered in Cupertino. The Management on sanitary inspection behind quality of foodstuff and medicines oximeters divides into two categories: wellness and health. The first cannot be considered medical devices because they do not pass certification, and the second to have higher accuracy and are subject to mandatory audit by the examiners, the results of which device or open the road to the market or block.

Apparently, Apple wants to get its Apple Watch the status of the health device, and not wellness, but because for so long pulls with certification, apparently, negotiating with the experts from the regulator on the recognition of the validity of its own methods of measuring oxygen. In any case, other reasons to not bring in the sale of watches, from a technical point of view is already able to measure the saturation level in the blood and thus save the lives of users, I do not see.