Researchers have developed an ultrasound diagnostic protocol for COVID-19. The protocol was developed in the laboratories of UniTrento with collaboration from a dozen clinical teams in Italy as a response to the pandemic. In addition, the researchers are installing and testing a a new wireless probe to make a further progress in facilitating the diagnosis of COVID-19. They say it is a race against the clock: the effectiveness of these new instruments to contain the contagion and improve patients’ outcomes also depends on when they will be used in hospitals.

Ultrasound Laboratory Trento, which develops ultrasound diagnostic tools for health applications, is one of the research groups working at the University of Trento to fight the spread of COVID-19. The new probe was provided by ATL-Ecografi Wireless Milano.

“For the first time, the scientific validity of the technique we proposed is accepted. We hope our work can help tackle the pandemic,” says Paolo Giorgini, director of the Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science of the University of Trento, which hosts the laboratory.

Ultrasound imaging (ultrasonography) examines specific patterns to diagnose patients, determine the seriousness of their condition, and thus choose the most appropriate treatment. In other words, the ultrasound waves are used to take a picture of the lungs and reveal any alterations.

Libertario Demi notes that a colleague from the German society of ultrasound in medicine asked permission to adopt the protocol to implement it in Germany. Policlinico Gemelli in Rome has also provided training to medical staff so that they can use these techniques. “We are available to train healthcare workers and to further develop algorithms that can help them manage the pandemic,” says Demi.

Their work was presented paper, “Is there a role for lung ultrasound during the COVID-19 pandemic?” was published in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine. The paper features some of the first lung ultrasound images in patients with the Coronavirus. Its authors are Libertario Demi and Federico Mento (Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, University of Trento) with Gino Soldati (Valle del Serchio General Hospital, Lucca); Andrea Smargiassi, Riccardo Inchingolo and Danilo Buonsenso (Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Rome); Tiziano Perrone, Domenica Federica Briganti and Stefano Perlini (Fondazione Policlinico San Matteo, University of Pavia); Elena Torri (Bresciamed, Brescia); Alberto Mariani (Usl Nordovest Toscana, Lucca); Elisa Eleonora Mossolani (Voghera General Hospital); Francesco Tursi (Lodi General Hospital).