According to a Fox News report, a new medical trial will be conducted to examine if the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine can prevent the complications brought by COVID-19, and lessen the number of coronavirus patients that need to be hospitalized. The report stated that UC San Francisco is currently recruiting newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients who will be tested for the clinical trial.
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Can the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine prevent complications caused by COVID-19?
In a previous report of the University of California San Francisco, the new international trial called the COLCORONA study will be conducted at UCSF and New York University School of Medicine which will serve as the first two US sites for the Colchicine Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Trial.
The study will also have several sites in Canada and additional sites are currently being considered in Europe. The new international trial will be led by the Montreal Heart Institute.
Colchicine is a safe, inexpensive and widely available anti-inflammatory medicine that cures gout by preventing swelling and joint pain; it has been prescribed by medical experts for decades.
The drug comes from autumn crocus flowers, where its name was originally derived. And it was used as early as 1500 BCE to treat gout.
A recent study published by the New York England Journal of Medicine discovered that low doses of the medicine can safely reduce the risk of recurrent cardiac events, especially in people who have survived a heart attack.
"The COLCORONA study hypothesizes, based on preliminary evidence, that the anti-inflammatory effects of colchicine may prevent this cytokine storm, and limit the damage to other organs such as the heart, brain, and kidney. Children were relatively spared by the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918, and we see the same pattern with COVID-19. This may be because cytokine storm is less likely in children," said David Waters, a doctor of medicine, and the assistant principal investigator for the UCSF study site.
The new international trial will be a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled test which aims to recruit 6,000 newly diagnosed patients over 40 years old who have at least one additional risk factor, such as heart disease, chronic pulmonary disease, or age greater than 70 years old, which may lead to serious COVID-19 complications.
The study will use an innovative new "contactless" approach in which the researchers will deliver colchicine to the patients' homes within 48 hours of diagnosis, and will conduct all recruitment and follow-up visits remotely.
Patients will have to register for the trial through a phone interview. Once eligible, they will sign digital informed consent documents also accessible using a phone or computer.