Data scientists from UK artificial intelligence (AI) company PrecisionLife have identified 59 repurposing drug candidates that could potentially treat patients who develop sepsis while suffering from severe Covid-19.

The study, released today on open-access repository bioRxiv, sought to identify genetic risk factors for sepsis in the context of Covid-19. These insights were then used to identify existing drugs that might be used to treat life-threatening late-stage disease.

Sepsis is observed in around 60% of severe Covid-19 patients, the company said.

The PrecisionLife team has identified mutations in 70 sepsis risk genes, 61% of which were also present specifically in severe Covid-19 patients. Of these genes, 13 are known to be druggable, with 59 compounds and drugs known to be active against these 13 targets.

These compounds could now form the basis for future drug trials and repurposing projects.