The Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) has announced positive, clinically persuasive results from the COLCORONA clinical trial of orally administered drug, colchicine, for treating Covid-19.

The contact-less, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in an at-home setting in Canada, US, Europe, South America and South Africa.

It analysed whether colchicine could lower the risk of severe complications linked to Covid-19.

COLCORONA had approximately 4,500 Covid-19 patients who were not hospitalised at the time of enrolment and had minimum of one risk factor for Covid-19 complications.

According to the study results obtained from 4,488 patients, colchicine lowered the risk of death or hospitalisations by 21% in Covid-19 patients versus placebo, approaching statistical significance.

Furthermore, the analysis of the 4,159 Covid-19 patients receiving colchicine showed statistically significant reductions in the risk of death or hospitalisation versus placebo.

In these Covid-19 patients, the drug lowered hospitalisations by 25%, the requirement for mechanical ventilation by 50% and deaths by 44%.

The Institute noted that the latest scientific discovery makes colchicine the world’s first oral drug which can be used for treating non-hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

MHI Research Center Director, Université de Montréal Medicine professor and COLCORONA trial principal investigator Dr Jean-Claude Tardif said: “Our research shows the efficacy of colchicine treatment in preventing the ‘cytokine storm’ phenomenon and reducing the complications associated with Covid-19.

“We are pleased to offer the first oral medication in the world whose use could have a significant impact on public health and potentially prevent Covid-19 complications for millions of patients.

“Our innovative research programme also proves that the Montreal Heart Institute can make rapid scientific breakthroughs in a way that is economically viable for patients by repurposing existing drugs.

Colchicine treatment can aid in alleviating hospital congestion and cut down healthcare costs, the Institute noted.