IGFAE contributes to the fight against the coronavirus

The Galician Institute of High Energy Physics (IGFAE) of the University of Santiago (USC), like the rest of the academiccommunity, make available to society all its human and technical resources to deal with the pandemic caused by the coronavirus. Although our main activities are far from the medical applications in virus contagion, several initiatives try to find emergency solutions that may be useful in the sanitary or simulation area.

3D printing of protection screens

Since last week, the center’s two 3D printers have been producing protection screens for healthcare personnel that are being delivered and distributed through CiTIUS, the coordinating and promoting center, together with the Management and the Vice-Rectorates of USC. Also, this week the process of manufacturing a new model of masks validated by the Ministry of Health began to be optimized.

Artificial intelligence to calculate the demand for medical services

On the other hand, an IGFAE team proposed a research project in the call published by the Carlos III Health Institute to develop new preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic tools around SARS-CoV-2 and CoVid19. The project aims to determine the number of people who will require specialized medical care due to two simultaneous outbreaks of coronavirus and seasonal flu. For this, mathematical models and a machine learning system based on recurrent neural networks (LSTM) will be developed, capable of analyzing data in a massive way to calculate the demand for medical services. Various demographic variables will be taken into account to consider the particular cases of vulnerable sectors, as well as the possible effects of quarantines and social distancing. The objective of this proposal is to remedy the deficiencies of the SIR model, one of the tools widely used to model the spread of disease. If accepted, the project will have the collaboration of the technological company Innovalabs.

Developing the software for a commercial respirator controller

Finally, another team of IGFAE researchers is initiating the design and construction of a respirator prototype that works in the “Pressure Regulated Volume Controlled (VCRP) and Assisted Proportional Ventilation” (VPA) modes. This activity is carried out within the framework of an international collaboration with CERN and other European universities and centers. It is intended to manufacture respirators in our environment with commercial components readily available given the current circumstances and that contribute as emergency material in case of need.