The fight against Covid-19 is still continuing. All over the world, researchers are trying to find various ways to stop or slow the spread of the disease. In this context, Israeli scientists analyzed studies made on the drug called colchicine and its effects on Covid-19. They discovered that this drug would have the potential to reduce the risk of dying from Covid-19 by 50%.
Colchicine is an ancient remedy derived from the Colchicum plant family whose properties were used in Ancient Greece, especially to treat gout and other types of inflammation. Colchicine is one of the drugs that has survived until today, as researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explain. We know that 4 controlled studies concerning the effects of this drug, and involving 6000 patients of the coronavirus, have been published. Analyzing the results, the team found that there was a significant improvement in the indices of severe Covid-19. In addition, they found an approximately 50% decrease in mortality among patients, compared to those who were not treated with colchicine.
According to the researchers, this is an important find since it is a cheap drug. It suffices for the patient to take a dose of half a milligram per day.
The strategy adopted for the new study
Contrary to what has been done before, Prof. Ami Schattner and his colleagues have chosen a different strategy. They focused on all patients treated with colchicine in controlled trials over the past 20 years. They did not stop at Covid-19.
Among the studies they analyzed, 4 revolved around Covid-19 with 6,000 participating patients. Each of these patients would have observed an improvement. According to Schattner, colchicine as a means of fighting the coronavirus is an important discovery since this drug is not expensive, and it has minimal side effects. For example, there were outbreaks of diarrhea in 10% of the subjects.
According to reports, the studies analyzed by the team of Israeli researchers were carried out around the world such as Brazil, Canada, Spain and Greece. Schattner says there is still a need for more randomized trials to be able to confirm the results of this “preliminary study.”
Even though the results obtained by Israeli scientists seem very promising, there is still some doubt about the use of colchicine if we consider other studies on the subject.
Last November, an Indian research team from GMERS Medical College Gotri in Gujarat performed a meta-analysis of 6 studies that tested colchicine’s abilities to prevent severe cases of the disease. According to these Indian researchers, colchicine does not reduce the risk of death, the need for respiratory assistance, admission to intensive care, or the length of stay in hospital. There would be no benefit in adding colchicine to the treatment given to patients with Covid-19.
In March, an extensive British trial also stopped the search for participants to test colchicine as a treatment for Covid-19. This event took place after the results of a substudy of the trial showed that the drug had no effect on the patients.
Despite these conflicting results, Schattner remains confident and says the results they found are “very promising” and worth exploring.