Greek health experts at the committee of the Health Ministry gave the green light for the administration of colchicine, a well-known and cheap cardiological drug, to be included in the protocol of oral treatment in patients with Covid – 19. The approval was reportedly given following the results of a big Canadian study in which also Greece participated.
The Canadian study COLCORONA showed that the administration of colchicine to covid-19 patients “reduced mortality by 44%, hospitalization by 25% hospitalization and the need for mechanical ventilation by 50%” Cardiology Professor and National Coordinator for the Greek part of the study Spyros Defteraios said
According to state-run news agency amna,the Committee in Greece decided “the administration of colchicine after a doctor’s prescription in certain categories of patients with a positive coronavirus molecular test.”
The administration will be given to all patients over the age of 60 who have a positive molecular test regardless of whether or not they have underlying diseases. Also to patients aged 18-60 with at least one underlying disease or fever over 38 for at least 48 hours.
Underlying diseases include diabetes, obesity, uncontrolled hypertension, asthma, COPD, heart failure and coronary heart disease.
The administration of colchicine in the form of a pill will be done when the treating doctor decides and it is estimated that it will be administered in the first 24 hours after the positive molecular test.
The decision was taken late on Saturday and will be officially announced by the National Health Organization EODY on Sunday.
The Canadian COLCORONA study was conducted among 4,500 Covid-19 patients.
Also Greece participated in the study with National Coordinator Professor Spyros Defteraios and members Sotiris Tsiodras, Panagiotis Gargalianos, D. Vrachatis and S. Giotakis, and activated centers in Athens, Kozani (Dr Eythalia Randou), Alexandroupoli (Prof. Periklis Panagopoulos) Thriasio hospital (Dr. Christoforos Olympios) and Patras (Prof. Markos Marangos).
The Canadian study follows the 1st published randomized study GRECCO-19 that involved 16 centers in Greece and scientific input from the Universities Humanitas Clinical Research Hospital (Italy), Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe (Spain), Mount Sinai (USA), Yale (USA)
Speaking to amna, Professor Gargalianos pointed out that the Canadian study confirmed the initial findings of the European study.
“We clearly saw in this study a significant reduction in the need for hospitalization in patients who received the drug in the early stages of the disease, better progression of the disease and reduction of severe disease as well as a reduction in mortality.”
The anti-inflammatory effect of colchicine has been known for years, as it is a safe, cheap and effective drug that cardiologists use, including in pericarditis.
Colchicine has reportedly therapeutic, anti-inflammatory properties in pericarditis, has been in use for over 100 years. It s administration to Covid-19 patients started when scientists thought it would shield the body from the side negative inflammatory effects created by the SARS-CoV-2.
The study was launched March 2020 and cost $14 million. It was funded by the Quebec government and several organizations.