EU Research Project COMMUTE has started

Consortium investigates links between Covid and neurodegenerative diseases – Kairntech contributes AI / NLP capabilities

Bonn, Dec 14-15. The EU Research project COMMUTE (“COMORBIDITY MECHANISMS UTILIZED IN HEALTHCARE”) has been kicked off at a two day meeting at the International Center of Information Technology (B-IT) at the University Bonn. Hosted and coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI), the project will investigate links between Covid-19 infections and neurodegenerative diseases. With the high numbers of Covid-19 infections in the recent past and again now, there is a real risk that these may lead to a surge in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson in the near future.

Understanding the links between these diseases and to derive insights for diagnosis, prevention and therapy are key goals of the project. The consortium therefore assembles partners from different backgrounds, from the life sciences, artificial intelligence as well as legal and ethical issues.

Bringing together researchers from many diverse fields

Project coordinator Prof Martin Hofmann-Apitius from SCAI declare: “Preliminary evidence that a SARS-CoV-2 infection (“COVID”) induces neuroinflammation in some patients is rapidly accumulating. Parkinsonism-like symptoms as a direct effect of COVID infections have been reported early in the pandemic. These observations prompt us to systematically investigate the link between COVID and neurodegeneration. We do that by bringing together leading experts in the field of Data Science and AI on one side (including a strong epidemiology component) and experts in the field of translational clinical research and cellular assay systems. COMMUTE combines a data-driven, hypothesis-free approach with a knowledge-driven strategy that allows us to test the most prominent comorbidity hypotheses in dedicated cellular and organoid assay systems. COMMUTE will have two major outcomes: an AI-based model for personalized risk assessment for COVID-induced neurodegeneration and a battery of cellular assay systems for drug repurposing testing. We are paving the way for both: digital and pharmaceutical intervention”

Research rightfully has a high priority on the agenda of the EU and its member states. Here, COMMUTE certainly is of particularly high relevance for this agenda, since it directly investigates a potentially significantly harmful risk for a large number of patients now and in the coming years.

Kairntech will contribute its experiences in deriving insights from the automatic machine learning powered analysis of large volumes of scientific content.

The project is funded by the European Union as part of the Horizon program. More on COMMUTE (soon) at