M. Luštrek, J. Valič, V. Janko

COVIRNA – a patient-centred Innovation Action aiming to generate a diagnostic tool to identify COVID-19 patients at risk of developing fatal cardiovascular complications (Horizon2020 project)

Short description, main aims and objectives of the project:

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by infection with SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has reached pandemic proportions with more than 7 million people infected and 0.4 million people killed worldwide. Death rates are accentuated by cardiovascular comorbidities and arrhythmias leading to unexpected major cardiovascular events. Being able to identify COVID-19 patients at risk of developing cardiovascular events leading to death would allow improving surveillance and care. Currently, there is no accurate method to predict outcome of COVID-19 patients. COVIRNA is a patient-centered Innovation Action aiming to satisfy this urgent and unmet need. COVIRNA will complete and deploy a prognostic system based on cardiovascular biomarkers of COVID-19 clinical outcomes combined with digital tools and artificial intelligence analytics (i.e. prediction model). Complementary expertise of 15 EU partners from the healthcare sector, academia, association and industry will allow conducting a large retrospective study on existing cohorts of COVID-19 patients. By upscaling the already validated and patented research use only FIMICS panel of cardiac-enriched long noncoding RNA biomarkers into an in-vitro diagnostic test (COVIRNA) adapted to COVID-19 patients, the project will quickly deliver a minimally-invasive, simple yet robust and affordable prognosis tool that can be used in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis as well as in further major health issues. By tackling the cardiovascular complications in COVID-19, known to contribute significantly to mortality, the project outputs are expected to have a major impact on the pandemic outcomes. The COVIRNA test will be CE-marked and prepared for commercialization, allowing to risk stratify patients, adapt therapies and to inform drug design.