Constructing co-occurrence network embeddings to assist association extraction for COVID-19 and other coronavirus infectious diseases

David Oniani, Guoqian Jiang, Hongfang Liu, Feichen Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) started its rapid emergence and gradually transformed into an unprecedented pandemic, the need for having a knowledge repository for the disease became crucial. To address this issue, a new COVID-19 machine-readable dataset known as the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) has been released. Based on this, our objective was to build a computable co-occurrence network embeddings to assist association detection among COVID-19–related biomedical entities. Materials and Methods: Leveraging a Linked Data version of CORD-19 (ie, CORD-19-on-FHIR), we first utilized SPARQL to extract co-occurrences among chemicals, diseases, genes, and mutations and build a co-occurrence network. We then trained the representation of the derived co-occurrence network using node2vec with 4 edge embeddings operations (L1, L2, Average, and Hadamard). Six algorithms (decision tree, logistic regression, support vector machine, random forest, naïve Bayes, and multilayer perceptron) were applied to evaluate performance on link prediction. An unsupervised learning strategy was also developed incorporating the t-SNE (t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding) and DBSCAN (density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise) algorithms for case studies. Results: The random forest classifier showed the best performance on link prediction across different network embeddings. For edge embeddings generated using the Average operation, random forest achieved the optimal average precision of 0.97 along with a F1 score of 0.90. For unsupervised learning, 63 clusters were formed with silhouette score of 0.128. Significant associations were detected for 5 coronavirus infectious diseases in their corresponding subgroups. Conclusions: In this study, we constructed COVID-19–centered co-occurrence network embeddings. Results indicated that the generated embeddings were able to extract significant associations for COVID-19 and coronavirus infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1267
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Association extraction
  • COVID-19
  • Co-occurrence network embeddings
  • Coronavirus INFECTIOUS diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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