On the 11th of August 2020, the European Commission announced funding for 23 projects targeting innovative and rapid health-related approaches to respond to Covid-19. One of these projects, VASCOVID, includes Irish SME BioPixS, Tyndall’s recent start-up company launched from the SFI funded centre IPIC. VASCOVID will develop a portable, non-invasive monitoring platform for the assessment of microvascular health in Covid-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation, in the intensive care setting. Combining two technologies based on state-of-the-art bio-photonics and artificial intelligence, namely time-resolved near-infrared spectroscopy and diffuse correlation spectroscopy, it will enable real-time evaluation of cardiopulmonary interactions. This will provide clinical information of heart-lung interactions in critically ill patients, thereby supporting ventilatory strategies, with a specific target to reduce extubation failure during the process of weaning patients from mechanical ventilation.

The project is led by the Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO) and BioPixS will provide novel phantoms to fast track instrument development. This will enable a standardized approach to characterisation/verification, and also provide quality control during day to day operations of the VASCOVID device. In announcing their participation, BioPixS CEO Sanathana Konugolu Venkata Sekar highlighted “It is a proud moment for us to be in position to utilise our best in class phantoms to support the development and deployment of an instrument with the potential to aid Intensive Care Units across the globe in their care of Covid-19 patients”.

Commenting on the announcement Prof Paul Townsend, IPIC Director, said “This is a great example of how world leading Irish research, and it’s advancement to market through start-up companies, is helping to address the Covid-19 pandemic.”