As of this morning – Thursday May 14 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 229,705 with 33,186 deaths.

Scientists from UK-headquartered AI precision medicine group PrecisionLife have identified 59 repurposing drug candidates that could be used to develop new therapeutic strategies to boosts survival rates for patients who develop sepsis while suffering from severe COVID-19.

The company analysed patient datasets compiled by UK Biobank to identify genes associated with sepsis which are also found in severe COVID-19 patients.

Sepsis is observed in 60% of severe COVID-19 patients and has a mortality rate of approximately 20%.

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

“Ours is the first study looking at host genomics and opportunities to treat later stage severe disease where host immune processes take over,” said Dr Steve Gardner PrecisionLife's chief executive.

“Our high-resolution genomic analysis tools have allowed us to develop new insights into two serious and complex diseases for which new therapeutic options are urgently required. We hope that these will lead to better understanding of what drives sepsis in COVID-19 patients and result in new ways to treat seriously ill patients.”

The company said it would now work with international collaborators to investigate therapeutic strategies that could help to reduce the high mortality rates in patients who develop sepsis with or without the context of COVID-19.


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