Introducing the ZOE Studies Hub

January 18, 2022

This article has not been updated recently

In September 2021, 18 months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, we started to ask our community of UK Contributors to help us turn the world’s largest COVID-19 study into the most powerful health study the world has ever seen.

We’ve been totally blown away by the response. 94% of our active Contributors in the UK said ‘yes’. That’s a huge number of community scientists ready to help research more health conditions like cancer, heart disease, dementia and mental health. 

The ZOE Studies Hub

Our shift to studying more than just COVID will be gradual as we continue to focus on the pandemic, and will only be available to UK Contributors at first. However, we’re really excited to launch our brand new ‘studies hub’ in the app as the first step towards making this ambitious project a reality.

We’d planned to launch this at the end of 2021, but as Omicron quickly took hold, we made the decision to focus our efforts there and wait to launch this in the New Year. 

To kick things off, we’re considering three new studies:

  • The role of immune health in heart disease
  • The role of the gut microbiome in cancer development
  • Identifying early signs of dementia through changes in cognition

To find these studies, click on the new ‘studies tab’ at the bottom of the app screen.

New navigation bar in the app

We’ll keep adding new potential studies to the Studies Hub to let you have your say, so keep an eye out for these!

Our team of scientists have focused on these research topics based on the conditions Contributors told us they care about most when opting in. The results showed that dementia, cancer, heart disease and mental health were amongst the conditions that mattered most to our Contributors. 

In each of the studies, you’ll be able to learn more about the potential future study, including what it aims to investigate, how it will work, which scientist will be leading it, and also read more about the current research happening in that area.

So we’re asking Contributors to tap the heart button on the studies they’re interested in. By tapping the heart, you’re expressing your interest in the study and helping us to prioritise. You’ll also be able to see how many other people are reacting to the studies too and there’s no limit, so you can heart as many studies as you want.

We’ll keep adding new potential studies to the Studies Hub to let you have your say, so keep an eye out for these!

Open app today to start hearting studies

Why are we expanding our studies?

Scientists have always struggled to gather data at scale as, traditionally, research involves inviting a limited number of volunteers to a lab or a location, and taking them through often long time-consuming protocols which can go on for months and years. 

However, the ZOE app collects self-reported health information directly from the individual and it takes just one minute a day from the comfort of your home, meaning it collects huge amounts of data at an unheard of scale and it places far fewer demands on the volunteer. 

ZOE’s next steps into wider health conditions will see the ZOE COVID Study evolve to capture more meaningful data about your lifestyle habits, so we can map this against your overall health outcomes. 

Fundamentally, we believe that our immune health lies at the core of almost all major diseases. There are many things that affect immune health, things such as diet and lifestyle which are in our control. We’re evolving to carry out critical new scientific research exploring how changes in people’s modifiable behaviours may cause changes in their immune function, and how different levels of immune function are associated with changes in disease-related outcomes. 

The ZOE COVID Study asks how you’re feeling, and by continuing to log your health daily, our scientists will seek to understand why you’re feeling a certain way, and how that information can be useful to you. 

Visit the Wider Health Studies page for more information.

What do we need from you?

We will do our bit and play back all the health insights we can, as soon as we can. But to be successful, we also need a few things from you.

  • Make it a long-term habit to keep logging your health regularly, whether you feel ill or well. Regular symptom reports are the backbone of this entire project
  • Express interest in the studies that excite you via the new Studies Hub
  • Spread the word. Now we are looking at more than just COVID, you might have friends and family who want to help fight conditions like cancer and heart disease, so why not let them know about these new studies and how they can get involved? 
  • And remember, that you’re doing an amazing thing by contributing to this study and you are part of a huge community of people just like yourself. 

What’s next? 

This is just the first step, so we’ll be rolling out more updates and changes to the app in the near future to help continue on this mission to fight wider health with the ZOE COVID Study. 

Thank you! 

We’re indebted to the contributors who’ve shown the ZOE COVID Study could be a revolutionary tool in human health science, and we’re excited to take this forward as the natural next step for ZOE and all our contributors to make an unprecedented impact on science all over again.

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