Colchicine would be effective in preventing severe symptoms of COVID-19, reveals the Colcorona study of the Montreal Heart Institute (ICM). This drug, generally used against gout, would prevent the hospitalization of many people at risk.
Launched in March 2020, the Colcorona study aimed to determine the virtues of colchicine in preventing the development of serious symptoms in patients with COVID-19.
The first results, made public, seem to indicate that the drug would have a beneficial effect on patients at risk of complications. Indeed, among the panel of more than 4,000 individuals with COVID, hospitalizations have been reduced by 25% and deaths by 44%.
“The results of the study are quite convincing. They clearly show the effectiveness of colchicine in preventing the phenomenon of “major inflammatory storm” which causes respiratory distress in particular. This is a major step forward, ”says the director of the ICM Research Center, Dr Jean-Claude Tardif.
Colchicine could be prescribed preventively to people at risk as soon as the diagnosis of COVID-19 is confirmed. It would therefore be the first oral treatment to avoid serious complications related to the virus.
“Thanks to this treatment, very many hospitalizations could be avoided. This would greatly reduce the congestion experienced by hospitals since the start of the pandemic ”, sees Dr. Tardif.
Asked to comment on the preliminary results of the Colcorona study, the deputy director of the Quebec Drug Research Network Marc Servant, is enthusiastic.
“The results that have been published so far seem to be heading in the right direction. Colchicine also has many advantages. It is an inexpensive and well-known oral medication. We have been using this molecule for over 200 years, so we know very well how to use it, ”he explains.
Colchicine has the particularity of being a “broad spectrum” anti-inflammatory. This explains its use to treat gout, a disease that manifests itself in the form of acute inflammatory attacks.
In the case of COVID-19, it would thus avoid an inflammatory response that is too strong and potentially dangerous.
“One risk would be that colchicine completely blocks the immune response, which would be counterproductive and dangerous. But that doesn’t seem to have been a problem in this study. Of course, you have to wait for it to be peer reviewed ”, underlines Prof. Servant.
The Colcorona study is a “non-contact”, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. It has been deployed in Canada, and around the world, including the United States, South Africa, Europe and South America.
The full results will soon be published in a scientific journal, the name of which has not yet been released.