Clinical trial tests if common drug helps COVID-19 patients recover without hospitalization

No specific treatments for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) currently exist. But clinician-scientists at NYU Langone Health are determining whether colchicine, a common anti-inflammatory medication, can keep people diagnosed with COVID-19 out of the hospital.

Investigators at NYU Langone Health, an NHLBI-funded site, joined the new trial named COLCORONA, which was spearheaded by the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre in Canada. Investigators at NYU Langone Health have previously shown that colchicine diminishes inflammation when given before a cardiac injury. It is thought that the drug could reduce later complications in adults who are at risk of rampant inflammation in response to the virus.

Together, they will enroll 6,000 patient participants who have a COVID-19 diagnosis, are at least 40 years of age, have at least one high-risk criteria, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity or asthma, and are not currently hospitalized for the disease.

Participants will be randomized to take either colchicine or a placebo twice daily for 3 days and then once daily for the remaining 27 days. Participants will receive their medication by courier and will be contacted by a research nurse on days 15 and 30 to assess their response to the medication. If successful, investigators say the treatment could be added quickly to treatment procedures.

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