A University of Iowa College of Engineering professor is developing tools to help patients suffering long-term complications in the lungs from COVID-19 with new support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Ching-Long Lin, professor and departmental executive officer of mechanical engineering and Edward M. Mielnik and Samuel R. Harding Professor, has been developing a deep learning model that can evaluate and classify data from lung images. The information can assist in management and treatment of long-term lung infections in post-COVID patients.
Patients who battled severe respiratory infection because of COVID-19 may experience long-term consequences, such as persistent infection in the lung. The lung is the primary site of viral infection.
The focus of the new 5-year, $3.6 million NIH grant is to train the model to detect what researchers believe will be a progression of characteristics or biomarkers unique to COVID-19 survivors. The model will mature based on images from chest X-ray (CXR), which is more accessible, and computed tomography (CT), which is more accurate.
The study will follow up with patients three to four years after preliminary clinic visits to assess the progression features of their clinical and imaging biomarkers. In addition, computational fluid and particle dynamics techniques will be applied to derive mechanistic biomarkers to explain the efficacy of inhaled drug delivery and the susceptibility to risk factors that might augment disease progression.
Lin is the principal investigator of the research project. Co-investigators include Tianbao Yang, Eric A. Hoffman, and Alejandro Comellas.