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Algorithmic advances, triage models and getting the ethical all-clear: IMI COVID-19 research efforts advance

The diagnostic projects launched by IMI in 2020 are making steady progress

testing by Dmitry Naumov via Shutterstock
Image by Dmitry Naumov via Shutterstock


It’s not all about vaccines. Fast and accurate diagnosis will lead us out of our long COVID-19 nightmare. Here’s an update on the progress of IMI’s diagnostic projects.

COVID-RED is working on developing a wearable device that can be used for remote early detection of SARS-CoV2-infections. The AVA bracelet measures vital signs and changes in biophysical parameters to rapidly and reliably detect cases so that patients can be prioritised for testing.

Findings from the project’s feasibility study have proven very encouraging; the team have produced an algorithm capable of indicating potential Covid-19 infection more rapidly than the current symptom-based system. The team have also identified participants and sites for a large study that will include 20,000 individuals. They are currently waiting for approval from local ethical authorities before starting recruitment.

DECISION are working on a miniaturised, disposable molecular point-of-care diagnostic device based on pulsed-controlled amplification to be able to test patients with laboratory-quality performance almost anywhere in 15 minutes or less. The electronic base of their small instrument has been successfully designed and a micro controller mainboard and the firmware developed. They are currently working on optimising the workflow, and the development of a compatible chemical/enzymatic, thermal lysis.

DRAGON are developing diagnostic and prognostic models based on imaging, combined with molecular profiling by AI-enhanced analysis deployed by federated machine learning networks. The objective is to be able to detect disease progression early. The team have created a model for triage of COVID-19 patients, a platform for predictive models which enables doctors to supplement their judgment with patient-specific predictions, and supports researchers in showcasing their work.

RAPID-COVID are working on high-throughput automation and point-of-care identification of COVID for a diagnostic test (multiplex PCR assay) that can detect SARS-CoV-2 as well as 30 other common respiratory bacteria simultaneously (Bordetella, Chlamydia, Coxiella, Streptococcus, Haemophilus, Klebsiella Legionella etc.) and viruses (I Influenza A and B, RSV), to ensure patients are quickly isolated and that all patients receive the right treatment.

Preliminary testing of the point-of-care prototype instrument started in December 2020 on known samples, with clinical testing due to start in March 2021. The project are making good progress in optimising the robotic system to be used for the clinical study.


Focus on: coronavirus



Related projects: 

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