On Sunday January 24th, Greece approved colchicine, an inexpensive medicine for gout, among other things, to be included in the protocol of oral treatments for patients with COVID-19. The committee of experts of the Health Ministry gave the green light for the medication after the positive results of a large Canadian study in which Greece participated. TrialSite notes that the findings of the COLCORONA sponsored by the Montreal Heart Institute were just updated via press release. The findings haven’t been scrutinized by peer reviews for any medical or scientific journal as of yet. Apparently, given the pandemic, the non-reviewed findings were sufficient.
The study showed that the administration of colchicine to Covid-19 patients “reduced mortality by 44%, hospitalization by 25% and the need for intubation by 50%,” professor of cardiology Spyros Deftereos, who coordinated the study in Greece told Athens-Macedonia News Agency (AMNA).
The committee decided to include the drug colchicine for use in patients outside the hospital. However, the administration of the medication will be done after a doctor’s prescription in certain categories of patients with a positive coronavirus molecular test. These are all patients over the age of 60 who have a positive molecular test, regardless of whether or not they have underlying diseases. It will also be administered to patients from 18 to 60 years of age who suffer from at least one underlying disease, or fever over 38 degrees for at least 48 hours.
The study of the treatment of Covid-19 by colchicine was conducted by a team of researchers from the Montreal Heart Institute. For Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif, who led the study, this is a “major scientific discovery,” he said. Colchicine is the first “effective oral drug to treat out-of-hospital patients.”
“To be able to offer this, from Quebec, and for the planet, we are very happy,” said Tardif. The ColCorona study involved 4,159 patients whose diagnosis of COVID-19 had been confirmed by a nasopharyngeal test (PCR).
Reducing Congestion in Hospitals
“This is the first hope for patients who have COVID, who are worried and who hope that they will not have complications,” said Tardif. Previously, “there were no tablets that could be taken by mouth and reduce the risks.”
Tardif said he believes that prescribing the drug could help reduce congestion in hospitals quickly and reduce health-care costs in Quebec and elsewhere.
“Our study showed the effectiveness of treatment using colchicine to prevent the phenomenon of the major inflammatory storm and reduce complications related to COVID-19,” he said. As colchicine is a well-understood drug, it could be used very quickly to treat people with COVID-19, the researcher says.
“Colchicine is old as it is — we’ve been treating gout with it for hundreds of years — so it’s available in pharmacies,” Tardif said, speaking in French. “So any doctor, tomorrow, who reads this can definitely decide to prescribe if he wants.”