Researchers from the University of Athens who spearheaded a successful clinical trial into the effects of colchicine in the prevention of complications caused by Covid-19, have teamed up with colleagues at Yale to carry on studying the benefits of the anti-inflammatory drug that was recently approved in Greece and other countries for treating the novel coronavirus.
“The trial, which comprised 105 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, demonstrated that colchicine reduces hospitalization time and the number of intubated patients,” the head of the Greek research team, Cardiology Professor Spyridon Defteros, told Kathimerini on Monday.
According to the study, whose findings were published in the prestigious JAMA Network Open journal six months ago, colchicine helps reduce hospitalizations by 25%, the need for respiratory support by 50% and fatalities by 44%.
“Colchicine is a drug that is 100 years old, a tried and tested anti-inflammatory that is used to treat gout, Mediterranean fever and pericarditis. Our team, as well as a research team at Canada’s Montreal Heart Institute, have been testing its effect on heart disease and atrial fibrillation for the past 10 years,” Defteros said.
“This decade of experience in the drug’s safe use led us to think that colchicine could have a positive effect on the inflammation ‘waterfall’ sometimes triggered by Covid-19. So, 10 months ago, our team was the first to submit this proposition to the international community and we started the clinical trial, which is called Grecco-19,” he added.
The Greek trial, Defteros said, was followed by six more, also with a relatively small number of participants, in the United States, Italy, Colombia and Argentina that confirmed the findings of Grecco-19.
The Athens University team was also part of the group in the Colcorona clinical trial carried out by the Montreal Heart Institute, which issued a statement last Friday announcing a “major scientific discovery” and naming colchicine as “the world’s first oral drug that could be used to treat non-hospitalized patients with Covid-19.”
According to the Greek researcher, the anti-inflammatory must be administered 48 hours after a patient tests positive for SARS-CoV-2.