The RECOVERY trial, which is the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, will randomly allocate at least 2,500 patients recruited to receive colchicine, which is used as a treatment for gout. The trial is taking place in 176 hospital sites across the UK. “Colchicine is an attractive drug to evaluate in the RECOVERY trial as it is very well understood, inexpensive and widely available,” SAID Oxford University Professor Peter Horby, who is co-chief investigator for the trial.
Colchicine costs about $124 for 30 capsules on the drugs.com website.
The scientists behind the trial said inflammation plays a major role in COVID-19 and treatment with dexamethasone, another anti-inflammatory drug, has already shown that it can reduce deaths in the most severely ill patients.
Earlier this month, one of Britain’s biggest trials also evaluated painkiller aspirin as a possible treatment for COVID-19, assessing whether it might reduce the risk of blood clots in people with the disease.
Other treatments being tested in the RECOVERY trial include common antibiotic azithromycin and the Regeneron antibody cocktail that was used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 symptoms.
AstraZeneca is likely to run an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine using a lower dosage.
James Galloway, a consultant rheumatologist at King’s College Hospital in London and an investigator on a smaller trial called TACTIC, is impressed by the speed at which RECOVERY was set up: “Basically, hospitals could quickly switch on and deliver it.”
Meanwhile, Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of RECOVERY, thinks this could be the answers to Britain’s coronavirus-woes. He added: “The UK has really delivered here. It involves hospitals from Truro to the Western Isles, Northern Ireland across to King’s Lynn.
“The patients have been fabulous: they were ill, frightened, alone, and elderly. The success is down to amazing teamwork across the clinical community and the incredible support of patients and their families.”