COVID-19 and Kidney Disease: Our Data Scientists’ Analysis Of 44,000 Research Papers

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By: Mo Faraji, Data Scientist and Coco Zuloaga, Head of Data Science

The White House and a coalition of leading research groups recently prepared and released the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). The dataset includes over 44,000 scholarly articles, including over 29,000 with full text, about COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and related coronaviruses. The goal of the release is to encourage the global research community to generate new insights into the COVID-19 virus.

This dataset has generated significant interest among healthcare providers, including those within the kidney care community. However, the massive volume of material in the dataset has made it near impossible for nephrologists and other providers to parse through the articles and gain relevant insights for their respective specialties.

Strive Health’s data science team undertook this challenge. Our team used advanced text mining and natural language processing techniques to extract articles that specifically address kidney function and/or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). While there is still a great deal to learn about COVID-19’s implications for kidney care, we hope that this extraction of kidney-specific articles gives nephrologists and other kidney care providers a body of work to start from.

Brief Methodology

Our team extracted articles that mention the word ‘kidney’ within the title, abstract, or body. We found that over 19% of the articles use the word ‘kidney’ at least once.


Figure 1: Bar-plot for the term “kidney”. The number (percentage) of unique articles which contains this term in their title, abstract, and body.

Our team then looked at the number of articles that use the term “chronic kidney disease”, finding mentions in the bodies of 223 articles and the abstracts of 19 articles.


Figure 2: Bar-plot for the term “chronic kidney disease”. The number (percentage) of unique articles which contains this term in their title, abstract, and body.

Sample Findings

From the 19 articles that mention chronic kidney disease within the abstract, some relevant findings include:

  • End-stage renal disease and chronic kidney disease were significantly associated with mortality from MERS-CoV within a study of 281 MERS-CoV cases.
  • Online consultation, medication delivery and psychological counseling are the greatest needs reported by patients and families of children with CKD in remote rural areas in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic.
  • Chronic kidney disease was an independent predictor of 90-day readmission within a study of 9,624 patients with a discharge diagnosis of pneumonia.

We’ll continue to update our summary findings as we dig deeper into the data, and as the dataset is updated.

Access to Relevant Articles

If you would like to access the list and full-text links to all 19 articles, fill out Strive’s contact form with “COVID-19 Articles” in the subject line or email info@strivehealth.com.

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