Fighting coronavirus: Help researchers solve the puzzle by becoming citizen scientist

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area researchers are asking for your help to fight the novel coronavirus by joining a vast army of volunteers, right from your home.

While millions of us are sheltering at home to avoid COVID-19, we have an opportunity to fight it at the same time.

RELATED: East Bay company to have hand-held COVID-19 testing devices ready by next month

All you need is a smart phone and a sense of duty to become a citizen scientist.

"We can accommodate millions of individuals who are willing to share their data. To tell us, precisely what they're doing, what their exposures are," UCSF researcher Dr. Gregory Marcus said.

He and his colleagues are turning to a smart phone app platform called Eureka to gather critical data on COVID-19.

Volunteers can download it for free.

Once you have it, you can become a literal test subject - feeding information to researchers to help them understand how the virus travels, who's the most vulnerable, and why.

EXCLUSIVE: Bay Area group says donating your CPAP or BIPAP device could help save lives

"We're understandably anxious to understand what are the real behaviors that can affect our risk of infection," Dr. Marcus said.

The app feeds daily questions. Answers can be yes or no, or sometimes require more detail.

Where have you been? Are you traveling to work? Are you getting regular exercise? Do you have pets or kids at home?

"It's about demographics, age, sex, race, occupation," Marcus said.

Other questions focus on behavior and your health.

How often are you washing your hands? Have you had a temperature or fever? Have you had any symptoms of cold or flu?

RELATED: Tesla's Elon Musk announces company will donate FDA-approved ventilators to hospitals

Information multiplied on a vast scale for researchers to study, all with the goal of unlocking the secrets of a dangerous virus.

"And the more people who contribute, the more confident we can be of answers we find," Marcus said.

Answers that could help save lives.

To sign up to join you just need to text: COVID (all caps) to 41411.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus crisis, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.