Colchicine’s effect on Covid-19 must be examined carefully, expert warns
Tuesday, 26 January 2021
The news of the efficacy of colchicine in the treatment of Covid-19 reported extensively in the press deserves careful attention since the results of the study have not yet been published, said Elie Cogan (ULB and internal medicine specialist at Chirec).
“Before the conclusions of this study can be validated, a careful examination of the results by external experts is mandatory,” Cogan stressed, calling for caution.
A study launched last March provided clinically convincing results of the effectiveness of colchicine (an anti-inflammatory used among other things against gout) to treat Covid-19, announced Saturday the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) on its website. This would make it the first oral drug in the world capable of treating patients in the pre-hospital phase.
According to the principal investigator of the study, colchicine, prescribed within 24 hours of the diagnosis of Covid-19, in non-hospitalized patients, would reduce hospitalisations by 25%, the need for mechanical ventilation by 50% and deaths by 44%.
However, Cogan pointed out that “better survival associated with colchicine intake” has been found in two retrospective studies. This is also indicated by two prospective studies conducted in Covid patients, with “positive but limited clinical effects”, Mr. Cogan said.
Inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Yves Van Laethem was enthusiastic on Saturday on the RTL set at the time of the TV news. “If this is indeed the case, and there is no reason to doubt it, this is the most important step we have taken in the treatment against Covid since the beginning.”
“This is the first time that we have had a drug that is given outside the hospital, when people start to get sick, and which allows us to reduce their arrival at the hospital and the development of inflammatory phenomena.”