• International Project to join fight against Coronavirus

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International Project to join fight against Coronavirus

Jun 23 2020

As part of a €14m EU-funded international consortium for Covid-19 advanced diagnostics, scientists at the University of Southampton are leading molecular phenotyping research activities based on quantitative measurement of thousands of biomolecules such as genes and proteins, to measure biological pathway activity for better understanding of diseases.

The project, called DRAGON (rapid and secure AI imaging-based diagnosis, stratification, follow-up, and preparedness for coronavirus pandemics), will design and build a patient-centred system that will employ imaging and molecular phenotyping data of Covid-19 patients from across Europe. Artificial intelligence techniques will be used to create a system to inform medical decisions about patient care.

Diana Baralle, Professor of Genomic Medicine and Consultant in Clinical Genetics at Southampton said: “This is a large collaborative international project, in which the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Biological Sciences and spin-out companies, TopMD and Synairgen will have a central role. The Covid-19 clinical studies we are undertaking and the patient samples collected from those, may provide vital clues to questions such as who gets affected more severely and whether patients are responding to treatment. Collaboration – between universities, hospitals and companies – will maximise the advances we are going to make through this project.”

Dr James Schofield, co-founder of TopMD, said: “As Covid-19 infections continue to spread, DRAGON will make a real contribution to the rapid development of advanced diagnostics to support patient care.”  

DRAGON is being led by OncoRadiomics, a Belgian company that uses AI to develop medical products and services, in partnership with 21 SMEs, academic research institutions, biotech and pharma partners, patient-centred organisations and professional societies from the UK, Belgium, China, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland. As well as scientists, citizens and patients will be involved the development of the system.

The University of Southampton has been awarded funding worth €248,523 and TopMD has been awarded €649,000 for the three-year project.

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