Covid-19: Causaly partners with UCL to accelerate coronavirus research

Noelle Baquiche
Noelle Baquiche
published on April 21, 2020

At Causaly we're excited to announce a new partnership with University College London (UCL) to help accelerate research into the pandemic.

Causaly uses artificial intelligence to rapidly read, understand and interpret vast databases of biomedical knowledge. Our platform surfaces evidence from 30 million biomedical publications in seconds, enabling researchers to rapidly map epidemiology data, biomarker genes, molecular targets and identify potential treatment options.


Causaly has been actively optimising its technology for the current pandemic, working alongside industry, government and academia.

UCL has been actively working on a number of Covid-19 related research projects, including the development and delivery of a low-cost breathing aid, trials of a potential antiviral and rapid genome sequencing to better understand the spread of the disease.

Following an agreement with UCL Innovation & Enterprise, several researchers and groups within UCL, researchers and groups within UCL are now using Causaly to work on COVID-19 projects ranging from the development of therapeutics and diagnostic approaches, to epidemiological models, mental health-focused strategies and healthcare system logistics.

Professor Spiros Denaxas, from the UCL Institute of Health Informatics, commented:

“As a medical researcher working at the interface between care and research, Causaly allows me to rapidly ingest, analyse and derive insights from huge amounts of biomedical literature. Importantly, it allows us to focus on the translation of our research by enabling us to triangulate evidence derived from research and clinical guidelines.”

Dr Vassilis Georgiadis, Senior Partnerships Manager (Pharma & Healthcare) in the Business & Innovation Partnerships team, UCL Innovation & Enterprise, added:

“Our partnership with Causaly strengthens UCL’s research and innovation tools towards battling the Covid-19 pandemic, giving our researchers superior access to existing biomedical knowledge. What's impressive is that Causaly's platform mimics how humans read cognitively. The company is looking to understand the context of data in text itself, extracting evidence and causality, which we hope will provide significant benefits to our research groups working on Covid-19 related projects.”

The power of AI in the pandemic

Covid-19 shares some molecular pathway similarities with other betacoronaviruses, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-CoV (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-CoV (MERS-CoV).

Causaly’s AI platform enables the rapid identification of all previously reported drugs for the betacoronavirus genus and also uncovers relationships that would not be obvious by traditional literature review search. Causaly AI additionally allows users to find biomarker genes and potential molecular targets of a disease.

Yiannis Kiachopoulos, Co-Founder CEO at Causaly, said:

“By using Causaly, UCL researchers will be able to unlock hidden evidence in biomedical literature faster, exploring mechanisms of action, treatments, side effects and more using our cause-and-effect database which maps over 170 million relationships. Our goal is to help accelerate research efforts into Covid-19, and we're delighted to be working with UCL, one of the world's leading academic research institutions, at this critical time.”

UCL’s Vice-Provost (Enterprise), Dr Celia Caulcott, added:

“At UCL Innovation & Enterprise we have long championed collaboration between universities, industry, government and other innovative partners as being critical to solving some of society’s most pressing challenges. Never has this been more relevant than today, as we mobilise to find solutions to an unprecedented global pandemic. This partnership with Causaly puts us on the best possible footing to work together during this crisis, and I am sure on different projects in the future.”

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