Anti-inflammatory colchicine will be tested as a possible Covid-19 treatment in one of the world's biggest trials, the study website posted on Friday, the latest effort to repurpose existing medicines to fight the pandemic.
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.
"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.