The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) is creating a COVID-19 Imaging Data Repository. The work will continue to build upon the association’s collection of research and education sources to help combat the global pandemic.

The open data repository will compile images and correlative data from institutions, practices, and societies around the world to create a comprehensive source for COVID-19 research and education efforts. The image hosting, annotation, and analysis framework will enable researchers to understand epidemiological trends and to generate new artificial intelligence (AI)algorithms to assist with COVID-19 disease detection, differentiation from other pneumonias, and quantification of lung involvement on CT for prognosis or therapy planning.

“RSNA is committed to accelerating collaborative research and education on the uses of medical imaging to address diagnosis and imaging-based treatment of COVID-19,” says Curtis P. Langlotz, MD, PhD, RSNA board liaison for information technology and annual meeting. “Because RSNA is a leader in connecting radiologists around the world, we have received a wave of requests from organizations interested in sharing imaging data as well as from individuals and organizations seeking access to such data for research and education.”

In response to these requests, RSNA is releasing a survey for representatives of radiology organizations that may be willing to share COVID-19-related imaging data. The survey will help RSNA collect all available resources into a unified repository for international COVID-19 imaging research and education efforts.

The RSNA has also agreed to collaborate closely with the European Imaging COVID-19 AI initiative, supported by the European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics.

The organizations expressed the common goal of creating a secure way to share COVID-19 imaging in order to assess lung involvement more accurately with AI. They will collaborate to enable hospitals to provide imaging data securely and efficiently with researchers, respecting privacy and ethical principles. They will define and publish protocols for selecting and labeling imaging data associated with COVID-19 as a tool for researchers and practitioners. Other interested organizations are invited to join this coalition to share information and facilitate a rapid response to COVID-19.

Organizations are requested to use complete a survey to provide information about COVID-19 imaging data they may be willing share for research. Responses are requested by April 15, 2020.

Read more from the RSNA.

Featured image: This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. The spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name, crown-like. Credit: NIAID-RML