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ABSPIE Lab COVID-19 contingency activities

Supporting policy-makers on regulatory issues for medical devices and PPE (Davide Piaggio, Busola Oronti, PhD students)

As President Elect of the European Society of Biomedical Engineering, Dr Pecchia is part of an international team of experts supporting WHO in identifying essential COVID medical devices and preparing specifications for helping Hospitals/Ministries of Health, in particular in Low- and Middle-income countries (LMICs).

Preliminary research outcomes:

· Pecchia L, Piaggio D, Maccaro A, Formisano C, Iadanza E. The Inadequacy of Regulatory Frameworks in Time of Crisis and in Low-Resource Settings: Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19. Health and Technology. 2020 May 2:1.

· IFMBE-WHO white paper on PPE:

Telemedicine for monitoring of COVID19 and provide the continuity of care to chronic patients

Supporting the application of telemedicine, AI and IoT both for COVID19-patients and for cancer patients. In particular, the ABSPIE Lab has supported the Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital (North Wales) to ensure the continuity of care of oncological patients minimising the access to hospitals with the help of an app. Leaflet attached.

AI for early detection of pneumonia (not only COVID) basing on symptoms (Rossana Castaldo PDRA, Carlo Federici, PhD stud, Katy Stokes MSc stud)

After performing a systematic literature review on AI-based detection of pneumonia basing on symptoms, we proved that it is possible to build an AI system to automatic detect pneumonia, discriminate pneumonia from other airway conditions (e.g., bronchitis) with sensitivity and specify > 85%, using a dataset from of 6000 patients.

Both systematic review and AI system have resulted in two scientific papers under revisions.

A systematic review of papers on ethical issues and medical devices published during the first 6 months of COVID19 pandemics (Alessia Maccaro, Research Fellow)

Following the PRISMA statement, a systematic literature review was performed, focusing on ethical issues arising from the use of medical devices during COVID pandemic. From 200 titles identified, 20 finally met the inclusion criteria. The paper is under revision.

Supporting the manufacturers reinforcing their production of devices and equipment (Silvio Pagliara, PDRA)

Since the start of this crisis, a number of manufacturers have contributed, reinforcing their productions of PPE and devices for COVID prevention, detection and containment. Our support included providing support for CE marking of PPE (masks, visors) and improving the design. Several companies asked for our support, and the School of Engineering was probably to first in the UK to get a PPE face shield dinged, certified and delivered to the NHS.

Among other, particularly interesting is the PROTOM PASS, which Dr helped designing contributing particularly to the dimensioning of the UVC components.

COVID and medical devices in Africa (Alessia Maccaro, Davide Piaggio)

Financed by the GRP Health, this study is run in collaboration with scholars form the School of Engineering and the School of Sociology of the Abomey Calvary University (Benin) and is focused in understanding the level of preparedness of Beninese Hospitals to the COVID pandemic (mainly in regard to PPE and medical devices). Obtained the ethical approval, 2 Beninese scholars (1 sociologist, 1 biomedical engineer) will survey works of 6 hospitals. Results will be shared with the WHO, to respond to the chronic luck of reliable data from this wonderful, but complicated continent.

Specification of ventilators for paediatric applications (Martina Andellini, PhD student)

In collaboration with the Vatican Paediatric Hospital, we have reviewed technical specifications of ventilators for paediatric age. While this work had been done for adults, a gap existed for paediatric patients, which are much less affected by COVID. A paper is under revision.