Scientists in Canada have launched a study to test a drug they hope could prevent people from dying of lung complications caused by the respiratory disease COVID-19.
Researchers at the Montreal Heart Institute aim to recruit 6,000 COVID-19 patients for their COLCORONA study, according to a statement. The drug, called colchicine, is an anti-inflammatory pill used to treat gout, Behcet's syndrome —which causes blood vessel inflammation— and the genetic disorder Familial Mediterranean Fever, where people have a recurrent abnormal body temperature.
Professor Jean-Claude Tardif, director of the Research Centre at the Montreal Heart Institute, told Radio Canada his team believes the medication could stop what is known as a cytokine storm, where the immune system overreacts.
The drug "may reduce COVID-19-related complications in adults at risk or with evidence of an inflammatory storm," according to the institute's statement.
To take part in the study, participants must have been diagnosed with COVID-19; be aged at least 40 years old; not hospitalized, and be willing to take the drug or placebo for 30 days. Women who do not take contraceptives, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, are not eligible.