Vanderbilt Partners with NIH and INRB in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Study Monkeypox

Researchers at Vanderbilt University are leading the development of an artificial intelligence algorithm that can track and count monkeypox lesions, the university recently announced in a press release.

Monkeypox is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.” The CDC adds that the monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox.

The research team is being led by Dr. Eric Tkaczyk and Benoit Dawant. Tkaczyk is the director of the Vanderbilt Dermatology Translational Research Clinic, an assistant professor of dermatology and biomedical engineering, and VA staff physician. Dawant is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery and Engineering.

The Vanderbilt researchers are also “spearheading the effort to develop lesion classification guidelines, which will be used when evaluating the potential use of tecovirimat, an antiviral that is FDA-approved against smallpox, as a therapy for monkeypox,” the press release further states.

Vanderbilt University notes that there are currently no proven, safe and effective treatments for monkeypox which is one of the reasons why Tkaczyk and Dawant’s goal is to “develop photography and AI tools that enable a reliable evaluation of the severity and progression of monkeypox.”

This research is being conducted in partnership with the Division of Clinical Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH and the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As previously reported by The Tennessee Star, the state of Tennessee identified its first case of monkeypox in early July. Now, according to the CDC, there have been at least 257 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the Volunteer State and 23,893 cases nationwide.

– – –

Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Monkeypox” by Diverse Stock Photos. CC BY-NC 2.0.


Related posts

One Thought to “Vanderbilt Partners with NIH and INRB in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Study Monkeypox”

  1. Randy

    Considering the players, is there a gain of function component or application for this research? Asking for a friend.