COPERIMOplus – Our life with the virus: Is AI key to normality?

News / March 08, 2021

At the turn of the year, the EU Commission granted approval for the first vaccines to protect against SARS-CoV-2. Around 3 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Germany so far – but a specific antiviral therapy for the disease does not yet exist. This poses major challenges for healthcare systems worldwide, especially in the clinical treatment of severe courses of the disease. In the Fraunhofer joint project COPERIMOplus, machine learning algorithms will be used to model individual risks for disease and progression, and to derive prognoses. Fraunhofer IKTS is part of the consortium and cooperates closely with the clinical Immune Plasma Covid Trial IPCO conducted at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, which is funded by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and investigates the treatment of severe courses of disease with convalescent plasma.

SARS-CoV-2 affects all people equally in terms of infectivity and spread. But when an infection requires hospitalization, differentiation is crucial for successful stationary or intensive care management: beyond obvious parameters such as age or previous illnesses, it is important to identify patterns that allow patient-specific conclusions to be drawn from available data. This requires analytical methods which help to make the best possible use of the often most critical factor of time in (intensive) medical treatment and to support medical staff.

COronavirus PErsonalized RIsk MOdels – COPERIMOplus

An interdisciplinary consortium of six Fraunhofer institutes, including MEVIS, IGD, IAIS and IKTS, led by Fraunhofer SCAI and IME, has set itself the task of creating a comprehensive ecosystem that grows with internationally available clinical trial data and can be transformed into learning artificial intelligence (AI).

Rational, data-driven modeling will enable individualized risk assessments to improve disease progression predictions and to optimize personalized therapies and their evaluation based on objective normalized criteria. Thus, the project will help to enable life with the virus and to return to economic and societal normality.

IKTS provides analytical basis for evaluating the efficiency of convalescent plasmas

In COPERIMOplus Fraunhofer IKTS is contributing its expertise in optical spectroscopy, which will be applied and developed for the classification of convalescent plasmas. It is now known that these plasmas, depending on the donor, vary in efficiency with respect to supporting viral control in the plasma recipient. How suitable the convalescent plasma of which donor is, is largely unclear. This is where IKTS aims to gain new insights.

“We are pleased to be working so closely with the IPCO trial approved by the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut and conducted at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen. The blood plasma provided and clinically used in this study from a large number of recovered COVID-19 patients is a ’sample treasure’ and we are happy to be able to apply our diverse analytics to such exciting specimens and in close feedback with the study leaders Prof. Hackstein and Prof. Schiffer”, explains Prof. Silke Christiansen, department head at Fraunhofer IKTS in Forchheim.