COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, emerging evidence suggests that it may have other effects on the body, including potential impacts on the nervous system.

Viruses are very likely involved in the aetiology of neurodegenerative diseases (see for instance the Parkinsonism-like symptoms of survivors of the Spanish Flu; or the recently proven association between Epstein-Barr Virus and Multiple Sclerosis).


It is hypothesized that COVID-19 could potentially increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases (NDD) due to several factors. These include the virus's ability to cause inflammation and damage in various organs, including the brain. Additionally, COVID-19 has been associated with long-term symptoms such as brain fog, memory problems, and fatigue, which could potentially contribute to the development of neurodegenerative conditions.

Neurodegenerative diseases pose significant challenges to public health, and finding potential risk factors or triggers is crucial. Investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the nervous system can help identify whether it contributes to the development of these diseases, thereby enabling early interventions or preventive measures.



This research opportunity brings together experts from various fields, including AI & data science as well as cellular assay and epidemiology mining specialists, clinical researchers, and ethical & legal experts. Collaborative efforts can accelerate progress, foster knowledge exchange, and facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the potential link between COVID-19 and neurodegenerative diseases.

We want to understand what happens to us after COVID-19 infection. Studying the effects of COVID-19 on the nervous system can provide new insights into the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. It may help scientists understand the underlying processes and identify potential targets for prevention or treatment.




  • We want to estimate the risk of NDD comorbidities after COVID-19 infection.
  • We want to understand the comorbidity between COVID and NDDs at the mechanistic level.



COMMUTE is a project characterized by the intelligent combination of two fundamentally different approaches:

  • a hypotheses-free, data-driven approach is 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 NDDs at population-level.
  • Complementary to that, a hypothesis-driven, knowledge-based approach leverages the substantial knowledge in the scientific community working on NDDs on the putative comorbidity mechanisms linking COVID and neurodegeneration.
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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.