Gout pill that costs less than 30p could slash the risk of Covid patients needing hospital treatment by 25%, study shows

A GOUT pill costing less than 30p could slash the risk of Covid patients needing hospital treatment by 25 per cent, a study shows.

Colchicine has been used by doctors for hundreds of years and is inexpensive and easy to make.

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More than 2500 patients in the UK got the drug as part of the world-wide trial looking at a range of existing drugs for treating Covid.

The study found that as well as reducing hospitalisations by a quarter, it cut the need for mechanical ventilation by 50 per cent, and deaths by 44 per cent.

Dr Jean-Claude Tardif, who led the Canadian arm of the study in Montreal, said this is a "major scientific discovery”.

He explained that previously "there were no tablets that could be taken by mouth and reduce the risks".

But colchicine is the first "effective oral drug to treat out-of-hospital patients".

"This is the first hope for patients who have Covid, who are worried and who hope that they will not have complications,” he said.

 

As colchicine is a well-understood drug, it could be used very quickly to treat people with Covid, said Dr Tardif.

"Colchicine is old as it is – we've been treating gout with it for hundreds of years – so it's available in pharmacies," he said.

"So any doctor, tomorrow, who reads this can definitely decide to prescribe if he wants.”

Experts were cautiously optimistic about study's findings but said more details were needed. 

Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said the research was “really, really exciting”.

“My first response was: this looks really interesting – if it's real and clinically meaningful,” he said.

The trial was undertaken as part of the RECOVERY, world's largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

Patients involved had to be over the age of 40 and have at least one risk factor for possible complications.

The study also that found that hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug touted by Donald Trump, was ineffective at fighting the coronavirus. 

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