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nference has launched a software resource that synthesises disparate single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) data sets to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Developed in partnership with Janssen, the resource is equipped with the nferX augmented intelligence technology that enables machines to comprehend more than 100 million unstructured biomedical documents.

The machines can also triangulate the emergent insights from scientific literature with deep biological signals at single-cell resolution.

The resource was designed to help researchers respond to the pandemic outbreak by decoding molecular signatures of viral infection, human-to-human transmission and increased mortality risk caused by health conditions or medication regimen.

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nference co-founder and chief scientific officer Venky Soundararajan said: “Single-cell technology is a powerful lens for interrogating molecules that are linked to diseases. However, very few labs have the expert know-how needed to assimilate this data.

“Furthermore, realising the full potential of single-cell sequencing requires the derivation of reliable insights from the exponentially growing biomedical literature.”

nference developed the single-cell resource in-part to assist Janssen’s discovery of novel therapeutic targets, including cancer subtypes with a high unmet clinical demand.

The companies also published a collaborative scientific paper, which serves as a primer to instruct researchers on how to use the nference single-cell resource.

The resource launch follows a call to action from the White House to the nation’s artificial intelligence (AI) experts to design new natural language-processing technologies that can be used to answer high-priority scientific questions related to Covid-19.

In response to the pandemic, nference recently joined the Covid-19 Healthcare Coalition that accelerates the development of ethical, secure, innovative and open source solutions to address the current public health crisis.

The nference single-cell resource is free to all scientists, physicians and practitioners in the academic medical centres around the world.