A team of Canadian researchers have found that an anti-inflammatory drug called colchicine, commonly used to treat Gout, can be used to reduce the risk of complications and deaths from COVID-19.

Jean-Claude Tardif, head of the Montreal Heart Institute (ICM), who led the preliminary "Colcorona" study published last Friday, told AFP that the discovery brings "important hope" to sufferers of the coronavirus disease, which has been wreaking havoc worldwide since last year.

The research, which was conducted among 4,488 patients from Canada, the US, Europe, South America, and South Africa since March last year, found that the medicine can reduce hospitalisations by 25 per cent, the need for ventilator by 50 per cent, and deaths by 44 per cent, among COVID-19 sufferers who are not hospitalised.

Colchicine is taken orally in tablet form, is inexpensive and readily available in pharmacies worldwide. Besides gout, it is also used to treat inflammatory arthritis, and pericarditis, among others.

If proven effective, colchicine will be world's first oral drug that could be used COVID-19 among non-hospitalized patients.

According to Tardif, the team is currently awaiting the publishing date for the complete results of the study.

Globally, more than 99.7 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and over 2.1 million have died from the disease.

Source: AFP, globenewswire.com
Photo source: The Straits Times