DRAGON: A new international project to develop a coronavirus diagnostics tool

2 June, 2020

The DRAGON project—led by OncoRadiomics in partnership with 21 high-tech SMEs, academic research institutes, biotech and pharma partners, affiliated patient-centred organisations and professional societies from Belgium, China, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK—is pleased to announce that its €11.4m grant proposal has been selected for funding by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). DRAGON will apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver a decision support system for precise coronavirus diagnosis and prognosis.

DRAGON will realise a patient-centred decision support system that will enable stakeholders to participate in the development of rapid precise diagnosis and prognosis. Furthermore, the power of precision medicine for accelerated development of new therapies will be brought to bear in DRAGON. Citizens and patients will be empowered to contribute to the efficient planning and usage of resources. The project will begin by rapidly delivering a nomogram. Data from the Chinese epidemic will be used to validate and further optimise a European scalable radiological diagnosis/prognosis solution. Existing and new data and sample collection efforts will be used to perform molecular profiling, which⁠—using advanced AI techniques⁠—will be shaped into a precision medicine approach.

The entire effort will be supported by the deployment of a federated machine learning system that will allow for GDPR compliant use of international data resources. The various iterations of the decision support system and the federated machine learning system will be made available to other coronavirus initiatives with the intent to develop a united stakeholder community that forms the foundations of a highly efficient and effective innovation ecosystem.

Wim Vos, DRAGON’s Project Coordinator from OncoRadiomics, said: “DRAGON was set in place in record time without compromising on the quality of the project. I am proud that we could unite such a strong consortium of companies, researchers, hospitals and even patients. We are Looking forward to the next three years as we work to move beyond flattening the curve and towards increasing capacity to handle viral pandemics.”

The DRAGON project consortium consists of the following partners: