Compelling long COVID research from ARC Oxford member, Perspectum diagnostics

Oxford spin-out Perspectum Diagnostics has revealed compelling research on the multi-organ damage on long-COVID sufferers.

Company founder Dr Rajarshi Banerjee (pictured above) is a world renowned expert at MRI scanning. Before COVID-19 struck, he had widened the company’s focus to multi-organ scanning in relation to diabetes.

He correctly predicted in March 2020 that COVID-19 would cause an inflammatory response as the body’s immune system went into overdrive to combat the virus.

But what neither he nor anyone else could have predicted was just complex that process would be, or how serious.

To have evidence meant recruiting volunteers to a scanning programme, which took place in 201 volunteers between May and June 2020. Cat Kelly, Chief Informatics Officer, says that what happened next, across 2020 was nothing short of amazing and galvanized the whole company:

We had ethics approval within a week, defined and launched the Coverscan trial, developed an imaging protocol, got Board approval to bring a mobile MRI scanner to Perspectum’s office 2 days per week (now 5), started recruiting volunteers and scanning them, and developed software from concept to preliminary version to a formally specified version to a quality software product that could be tested rigorously for robustness and repeatability, and submitted for MHRA approval – all within 9 months. 

She says that this sequence of developments would normally have taken as much as ten times longer.
The full detail of that first programme of scans has been published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Open article.

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