Left to right: Martin Hofmann-Apitius (coordinator of COMMUTE), Dasja Pajkrt, Katja Wolthers, and Adithya Sridhar

COMMUTE: Identifying the link between COVID-19 and neurodegenerative diseases

OrganoVIR Labs, together with ten other esteemed European partners, will collaborate in an EU-funded project that aims to unravel the underlying mechanisms linking COVID-19 infections with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It has been hypothesized that COVID-19 – a virus that is associated with brain fog, memory problems, and fatigue – could potentially increase the risks of developing neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) due to several factors, including the virus’ ability to cause inflammation and damage in various organs including the brain. NDD poses a significant burden to healthcare. Therefore, it is important to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the nervous system and to identify whether it contributes to the development of NDD. Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on the human brain would enable early interventions.


The EU-funded project, COMMUTE (COMORBIDITY MECHANISMS UTILIZED IN HEALTHCARE) is a project characterized by a combination of two fundamentally different approaches: 1) building on available big data and the application of cutting-edge AI/ML technologies to answer the question, whether infection by SARS-CoV-2 causes effects that result in a higher risk for the development of neurodegenerative diseases at population and 2) leveraging substantial knowledge in the scientific community working on neurodegenerative diseases on the putative comorbidity mechanisms linking COVID and neurodegeneration.


COMMUTE brings together experts from various fields including AI & data science, cellular assay and epidemiology mining specialists, clinical researchers, as well as ethical & legal experts. Together, they will work to accelerate progress, exchange knowledge, and facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the potential link between COVID-19 and NDD.


Within COMMUTE, OrganoVIR Labs will contribute to Work Package 4, which focuses on using organoids for studying these comorbidity mechanisms.