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UC Scientists are using data and artificial intelligence to fight the Covid-19 pandemic

5 november, 2020
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Three research projects to fight Covid-19 with data science and artificial intelligence have been funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology  (FCT) with more than 700,000 euros, it was announced this Thursday.

Three of the 12 projects funded by the FCT as part of the competition “AI 4 Covid-19: Data science and artificial intelligence in public administration to strengthen the fight against Covid-19 and future pandemics – 2020” are led by researchers from the University of Coimbra (UC).

The three projects are “VIRHOSTAI – Discovery of the Host-Virus Interatom: An Approach Driven by Artificial Intelligence and Multi-Ohmic Data”, “Lung @ ICU – Advanced Tools for Diagnosis and Prognosis in Pneumology @ Intensive Care Medicine” and ” A documentation system for the interface between clinical and data science research must meet the challenge. “

Led by Irina de Sousa Moreira from the Centre for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), the “VIRHOSTAI” project aims to develop an innovative platform on which to propose new therapies specifically designed for the treatment of Covid-19 were.

In the current context, the researcher points out that “it is important to quickly and reliably identify therapeutic targets and drug candidates so that only the best can advance to preclinical and clinical studies”.

To this end, it is “important to maximize the use of the enormous volume of data generated during the global fight against the pandemic and the latest advances in intelligent computer technologies in order to accelerate and optimize the search for therapeutic solutions that can only be achieved with conventional methods are difficult to achieve “.

The research, funded with 240,000 euros, is being developed in collaboration with the Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra (CHUC), the Institute for Systems and Computer Technology, Research and Development in Lisbon (INESC-ID) and the Association of Higher Technical Research and Development Institute (IST-ID) at the University of Lisbon.

Coordinated by Paulo de Carvalho from the Medical Informatics Laboratory of the Center for Informatics and Systems of the UC, the Lung @ ICU project aims to create an integrated set of diagnostic and prognostic instruments based on artificial intelligence based on the remote auscultation of thoracic and electrical sound Impedance Tomography.

With the support of 238,000 euros, this project is essentially intended to respond to “three major challenges in the current hospital environment in combating pandemic diseases” namely “Difficulties in diagnosing and properly evaluating patients with Covid-19, lack of pulmonology trained intensive care units and the need for adequate decision support tools for accurate diagnosis and prognosis of disease development “.

The third project funded by the FCT – “A system for documenting the interface between clinical and data science science must face the challenge of Covid” – is led by Miguel Castelo-Branco, researcher at the Coimbra Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Translational Research (Cibit) and received funding of 239 thousand euros.

This research “focuses on generating a data science tool and decision support at the hospital level, and developing a line of remote support and neurorehabilitation that reduces the difficulty of organizing responses”.

These types of tools are vital at a time when there is a need to respond to the huge impact of Covid, stresses UC’s Miguel Castelo-Branco, stressing that “a system should be developed that is easy to use and is to be maintained and has several different functions aimed at improving electronic clinical records and supporting research and clinical decision-making in the context of the current pandemic “.

The project will provide a “clinical research tool fundamental to supporting complex clinical decisions related to Covid” with a focus on neuron development in adults and chronic diseases such as diabetes.

Original source: Cristina Pinto