Intermountain Healthcare Utah, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Rush University Medical Center have joined physIQ’s DeCODe study to create an artificial intelligence (AI)-based Covid-19 digital biomarker in the US.

In the DeCODe study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), these institutions will act as recruiting sites and crucial partners in Phase II validation.

Biomarker development could allow early identification of a quick clinical decompensation in Covid-19 patients who are at increased risk.

Intermountain has 25 hospitals, 225 clinics and a medical group comprising of 2,600 doctors and advanced practice clinicians.

It leverages data analytic tools and algorithms to forecast if a Covid-19 patient is at risk of intensive care unit (ICU) admission or developing hyper-inflammatory syndrome linked to the disease.

Intermountain Healthcare research emergency medicine director Joseph Bledsoe said: “With all of the advances in AI and wearable sensors, this study can help give healthcare workers the tools needed to proactively address their patient’s Covid-19 acute illness.”

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UTHealth will extend its recruitment, enrolment and implementation capabilities for the study.

Meanwhile, Rush University Medical Center’s focus on improving the health of people and communities in Illinois, US, is expected to complement the study.

The DeCODe study, together with other projects led by physIQ, will aid in detecting the initial signals of an inflammatory response specific to individual patients, the company noted.

physIQ chief medical officer Steve Steinhubl said: “This work has huge implications well beyond just improving the care of individuals suffering from Covid-19, but anybody experiencing, or at risk for, an inflammatory reaction including those due to all infections, autoimmune conditions and resulting from a range of therapeutic interventions, from vaccines to cancer therapies.”

In January, the NIH unit National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering announced plans to enter Phase II of a multi-phase contract to advance physIQ’s AI-based digital biomarker development for Covid-19.

As DeCODe’s Phase I part delivered favourable results, physIQ sought a portion of the $1.5m federal government initiative to assess Covid-19 patients with long-term symptoms, also called long haulers.

Intermountain, UTHealth and Rush are also partnering with physIQ for this long haulers study.