COVID-19 DRAGON project draws to close

An Innovative Health Initiative (IHI) project has drawn to a close this month. The DRAGON project aimed to increase the capacity of the healthcare system so it can respond to COVID-19 and to future pandemics. 

The DRAGON project was led by OncoRadiomics and included 21 high-tech small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), academic research institutes, biotechnology and pharmacological partners, and ELF and ERS. 

DRAGON completed four main objectives:  

  1. Delivered Artificial Intelligence (AI) models that are based on imaging (such as CT scans) to diagnose and predict the course of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. These models can support medical decision making and resource planning.  
  2. Accelerated the development of new therapies by creating a precision medicine approach. This approach uses AI to diagnose and then predict the course of infection and response to individual treatment options. 
  3. Used a machine learning system that will consider new information to continuously learn and improve. This “Distributed Learning” system, provides a way of efficiently sharing and analysing data on a large scale. This will increase the capacity for innovation and the speed with which it can happen.  
  4. Empowered patients and the public to make informed decisions about their healthcare.  

ELF’s work in the project involved empowering patients to be more involved in their coronavirus diagnosis, care and preparedness. A patient and public advisory group was created to advise and input throughout the course of the project. 

This included holding workshops with patients to discuss the priorities and challenges of using AI in healthcare. ELF also produced patient experience videos aimed at healthcare professionals working in the project and information videos aimed at the wider public about digital tools in healthcare.  

After the success of the DRAGON project, the ERS CONNECT Clinical Research Collaboration (CRC) has been established to continue work on the theme of digital healthcare.  

A database of publications from the project will remain available along with public information and resources.