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RDM researchers are leading one of the six new NIHR-BHF COVID-19 projects.

The project takes advantage of novel artificial intelligence (AI) techniques applied to CT chest scans to accurately measure the level of inflammation in the heart which is suspected to be a cause of severe responses to the virus. CT scans are now frequently used to estimate the involvement of the lungs and hearts of COVID-19 patients.

These AI methods were developed by Professor Charalambos Antoniades, who will lead the project with collaborators across the UK.

Linking their results to the data generated in the other Flagship Projects will guide the use of anti-inflammatory drugs in COVID-19 patients. This study will be strengthened by the availability of previous CT scans in many patients with existing heart disease and repeat CT scans after infection has subsided. This will allow a direct comparison of inflammation before, during and after infection to understand whether COVID-19 has lasting effects on heart health and therefore whether these patients should be treated more actively with medicines to reduce their cardiovascular risk.