Canada, Greece launch trials on cheap arthritis pills, Colchicine that could slash coronavirus death toll
London, April 14, 2020 (AltAfrica)-CHEAP gout pills could reduce Covid-19 deaths, say experts.
Two major trials have been launched of the 10p-a-day tablets colchicine, amid hopes it may halt the “inflammatory storm” in the lungs which is a killer.
Some 6,000 coronavirus victims will be given the drug — first used 1,500 years ago — in Canada, and there is another trial in Greece.
In gout sufferers, colchicine eases toe inflammation and pain. It may do the same in the lungs, doctors believe.
Dr Jean-Claude Tardif, from the Montreal Heart Institute, said: “We want an answer as quickly as possible.
“If there is a significant benefit, the study could be stopped early.” He told Canadian radio station CBC: “Colchicine is an old drug.
“It’s cheap, widely available we think it might very well work as it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.”
Gout expert Prof Athimalaipet Ramanan, from the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath, said: “Colchicine has been used for years and is reasonably safe.
“It might help. But those with significant inflammation will possibly need something stronger.”
Scientists around the world are testing dozens of old medicines to see if they can help in the Covid-19 battle.
Seventy vaccinations for the coronavirus are underway with three already being tested in human trials as the world’s total number of cases climbs to 1,872,073, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) reports.
The vaccine closest to completing clinical trials, now in phase two, was developed by Hong Kong-listed CanSino Biologics.
The biomedical company and its collaborators, the Academy of Military Medical Sciences’ Institute of Biotechnology, got the green light from Chinese regulators to start human testing of the vaccine, it said in a statement for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday.