AI-SCORE, a project to calculate prognostic risk from Covid-19

An autonomous learning platform capable of calculating for each individual - based on a series of clinical and diagnostic indicators - the probability of developing the most severe forms of Covid-19, thus allowing targeted and timely health interventions and reducing the impact on the health system.

This is the objective of the AI-SCoRE project (acronym of Artificial Intelligence - Sars Covid Risk Evaluation) conceived by Carlo Tacchetti and Antonio Esposito, both professors of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, and director and deputy-director of the Center of Experimental Imaging of the IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, respectively, and developed in collaboration with two world giants of information technology such as Microsoft and NVIDIA, with the Omics Sciences Center of the IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital directed by Dr. Giovanni Tonon, and with the support of two companies: Orobix srl, a company active in the engineering, production and governance of AI systems with decades of international experience in healthcare and Porini, center of excellence and international partner of Microsoft on Cloud Azure platforms and Advanced Analytics solutions.


The mission of the AI-SCoRE project

The new coronavirus is highly contagious. However, despite the wide spread of the virus and its ability to bring entire healthcare systems to their knees, only a small percentage of patients - around 5-10% - develop the most serious (and sometimes fatal) forms of the disease. Often these forms have a rapid and unpredictable course that lead the patient to go from a mild symptomatology to a serious respiratory insufficiency in a very short time.

The aim of the project is twofold: on the one hand to recognize in the general population the people at greatest risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, if infected with the virus, that should be protected the most; on the other hand, to recognize among the patients who show the first symptoms of Covid-19 those who will have the worst prognosis. The project will start from this second objective, with an AI algorithm that will integrate diagnostic images, clinical and laboratory parameters, inflammatory status, and genetic profile of the patient and the virus.

"In Phase 1 we were unable to efficiently identify the most fragile patients among those with the first symptoms of the disease" explains Carlo Tacchetti, project coordinator. “We want to be able to do it quickly and precisely, because only in this way will we be able to understand who are the subjects that, once infected, need prompt treatment, even in the absence of serious symptoms. Obviously, our dream is to go beyond this first step and take advantage of this opportunity to develop transversal algorithms capable of identifying the subjects most at risk also in the general population, and not only in those with suspicion Covid-19. "

AI-SCoRE will both allow to more efficiently and effectively address Phase 2 of the Covid-19 pandemic, and  have implications in many other contexts where stratification of health risk is critical, including epidemics and pandemics in the near future.


The phases of the project 

The data collection of over 2000 patients - recruited from San Raffaele Hospital, Bolognini Hospital of Seriate and Monzino Cardiology Center - has already started, as well as the construction of the software infrastructure on which the algorithm will rest. 

The project will be developed in three main phases: a first phase of data collection and homogenization of over 2000 patients hospitalized in the past weeks and with a known prognosis; a second phase of development and implementation of the algorithm, which will be "trained" to learn how to combine them in an "intelligent" way to predict the risk of the individual patient, and a third phase of testing and validation of the product on a second cohort of patients and in any prospective studies.


Artificial intelligence for health

The technological platform is based on the latest Microsoft innovations for data analysis and Artificial Intelligence and will allow the collection, processing, management and use of heterogeneous data, coming from multiple sources, in total respect for privacy, to provide medical and research personnel timely and detailed informations useful to support the decision-making phase and the processes necessary to respond to the various phases of the emergency. 

 “At Microsoft, we help organizations to do more with technology, and this also applies to the healthcare world. Our primary objective is to use Artificial Intelligence systems to analyze large quantities of heterogeneous data and understand the factors that determine the health conditions of each, thus accelerating the implementation of personalized and precision medicine. AI-SCoRE goes exactly in this direction. It combines the skills of the various partners to help healthcare facilities be even more effective and allow everyone access to the best treatments, in all phases of the emergency", says Veronica Jagher, Health Market Director, Microsoft Area Western Europe.

Microsoft also makes available a large group of partners that on its platforms develop solutions capable of re-inventing healthcare, in this specific project namely NVIDIA, Porini and Orobix, which together with the San Raffaele Hospital, will identify opportunities at the intersection of technology, medicine, and computer science.

"Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping to fight the pandemic in multiple ways. Accelerated computing AI platforms and NVIDIA software are leveraged around the world to help sequence and analyze viral and patient genomes, monitor the spread of infections and the progression of mobility, accelerate the development of new drugs and classify and segment the diagnostic images. The San Raffaele hospital project establishes a new quality reference point in terms of personalized medicine and NVIDIA is excited to be part of this collaboration", says Francesco Torricelli, NVIDIA Country Director Italy & Iberia.