The COVIRNA Project Coordinator, Dr Yvan Devaux, discusses the project on Radio ARA
On Thursday, 7 October 2021, from 18:30 to 20:00 CEST, Dr Yvan Devaux, the COVIRNA project coordinator, was a guest speaker at Happy Hour, a show hosted by Wendy Winn on Radio ARA. Dr Devaux spoke about the COVIRNA project and cardiovascular disease management.
Dr Devaux started by providing context for the work carried out by the COVIRNA project. Biomarkers, which can be a DNA molecule or an RNA molecule, are detected in blood and used to determine the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, where heart failure is the most devastating consequence. With the onset of the pandemic, there has been an increased awareness of the role of RNA, a molecule coming from DNA responsible for the production of proteins, in developing the vaccine against COVID-19 but also as a biomarker.
Approximately 20% of patients infected with COVID-19 do not die from pulmonary problems but cardiac problems. This is precisely the issue that the COVIRNA project is trying to address, Dr Devaux asserted. The main goal of the project is to identify COVID-19 patients at risk of developing cardiac problems and look into ways they can be managed properly, thereby improving their quality of life and decreasing the mortality rate.
Dr Devaux emphasised that the COVIRNA Consortium is made up of members from 12 European countries who contribute to the project with their expertise in various fields, reflecting in particular on the Consortium members from Eastern Europe who bring expertise in artificial intelligence. He suggested that this is precisely the value of the research projects supported by the European Commission, namely, that these projects allow researchers from different parts of Europe to come together, and exchange knowledge and expertise. Dr Devaux asserted that it is the project’s diverse research network that has facilitated the work with 1,500 patients with COVID-19 and 500 patients without COVID-19 from 7 countries.
Dr Devaux also underlined the role of sex specificities in researching cardiovascular diseases in the context of the COVIRNA project but also in general. Specifically, women have an unrecognised high risk of developing heart problems and cardiovascular disease is the first cause of death in women. He asserted that it is important to take these specificities into consideration when treating women and men in a hospital setting.
Dr Devaux also spoke about the precautions anyone can take to reduce the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, namely, eating healthy, exercising regularly and reducing stress. He highlighted the importance of educating the general population about the actions they can take to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
You can listen to the full recording of the show here.