VASCOVID is one of 23 projects being supported by the European Union within the framework of the emergency call organised to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Its aim is to develop a platform capable of using near-infrared light to monitor the microvascular health of patients affected by COVID-19, thus allowing doctors to administer specifically targeted treatments.
One of the characteristics of the COVID-19 virus is that it damages the blood vessels not only in the lungs, but also in other parts of the body, resulting in the onset of serious forms of multiple organ dysfunction; VASCOVID aims to design a non-invasive, portable, low-cost device which can operate in real time, capable of allowing for a significant improvement in the monitoring of blood flow and oxygenation in patients being treated in intensive care units. This would also provide doctors with the necessary tools to administer treatments tailored specifically to the patient’s needs.
In addition to the treatment of patients affected by COVID-19, this new technology could also prove useful for a wider range of patients, such as those affected by sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The project, which is set to run for two years, involves seven European partners including the Politecnico di Milano, which is contributing through the research group led by Prof. Davide Contini. “Completing this project with such a short turnaround time is certainly a challenge,” says Contini, “but we’re sure we can manage it. We know that the spread of COVID-19 will be stopped thanks to the astounding progress made in the vaccine field, but this technology will be applicable to many different types of patients being treated in intensive care, and will allow us to be better prepared in the event that new pandemics of this kind come about in future”.
This article was first published by Politecnico di Milano.