PREDI-COVID

The “Predi-COVID” study aims to identify important risk factors and biomarkers associated with COVID-19 severity and long-term health consequences of the disease in Luxembourg.

Predi-COVID will contribute to better understanding why some patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 develop severe symptoms while others present only mild forms, which will ultimately lead to more personalized care recommendations. The study will also include household members of Covid-19 positive participants to study the transmission of the virus in this high-risk population.

Overall, this unique project will provide important results and improve the understanding and management of the outbreak.

Why is this research important?

COVID-19 infection manifests itself through a diverse array of symptoms, varying in type and intensity and consequently resulting in very different outcomes for affected patients. The risk of more severe forms of COVID-19 increases with age. However, little is currently known about other clinical and biological characteristics that lead to the observed disparities in disease severity and prognosis.

Aim and design of the research

In this context, the “Predi-COVID” project was launched with the goal of defining which patient profiles can be associated with a more severe prognosis.

The study will identify the clinical, epidemiological and socio-demographic characteristics, as well as specific biomarkers from both the SARS CoV-2 virus and the patient, which can help predict the way the disease will evolve in a given individual according notably to his immune profile.

Such predictors are important to personalize care by predicting as early as possible the risk of severe disease; they are also essential to support possible future strategies of de-isolation.

In terms of biological markers, one of the factors that will be assessed in the study is whether the presence of other concurrent microbial infections – known as co-infections – could serve as an indicator of COVID-19 severity in the Luxembourg population.

By improving understanding of the heterogeneity observed in disease severity, the study will enable the accurate prognostic evaluation of people with COVID-19. This will in turn provide policymakers with an invaluable tool to effectively steer public health measures in response to the pandemic. This could include targeted isolation policies for the most vulnerable individuals.

Your participation

A cohort composed of people over the age of 18 positive for SARS CoV-2 is being established. All individuals newly tested positive and being followed through the national Covid-19 telemonitoring system (suivicovid.lu) can participate in this study if they agree to share their data for research purposes.

Your samples & data

More detailed clinical data and associated biological samples will be gathered from a subset of volunteers from the original study cohort, in order to better characterise symptoms and clearly define the different disease outcomes. Upon inclusion in the study and after three weeks, several biological samples — including blood, nasal and oral swabs, saliva and stool will be collected from participants to identify human and viral predictive markers.

The health evolution and symptoms of the enrolled patients will be followed daily through different remote digital tools, depending on whether patients are at home or at the hospital, for 14 days from the time of confirmation of diagnosis. Short additional evaluations will also be performed monthly for a period up to 12 months, to assess potential long-term consequences of COVID-19.

Finally, innovative digital data will be collected. This comprises voice recordings, allowing researchers to identify “vocal biomarkers” of frequently observed symptoms in people with COVID-19. This can help identify signs of respiratory syndromes, fatigue, anxiety or negative emotions related to COVID-19, which could subsequently be used for the easy remote monitoring of COVID-19 patients at home.

Team

The “Predi-COVID” study is led by a consortium of Luxembourgish research institutions, including:

The team behind this study is a highly interdisciplinary consortium with a significant number of leading experts in virology, immunology, digital health, epidemiology, clinical practice, computer science, statistics and artificial intelligence.

The study is co-financed by the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) with an amount of EUR 1.85 million, and by the André Losch Foundation.

“Predi-COVID” is implemented under the aegis of the Research Luxembourg COVID-19 task force.

Research Luxembourg is a joint initiative of the main players in Luxembourg public research Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH); Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER); Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST); Laboratoire National de santé (LNS); University of Luxembourg; Fonds National de la Recherche (FNR), supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. The main aim of the initiative is to promote scientific cooperation in Luxembourg and to communicate the activities of the sector as a whole.

Contact

PRESS CONTACTS

RESEARCH LUXEMBOURG TASK FORCE

Didier Goossens: didier.goossens@fnr.lu

LUXEMBOURG INSTITUTE OF HEALTH

Arnaud d’Agostini: arnaud.dagostini@lih.lu