Greece approves administration of the drug to Covid-19 patients

Greek health experts at the Health Ministry have given the green light for the administration of colchicine, a well-known and heart drug, to be included in the protocol of oral treatment inpatients with Covid-19.

The approval was reportedly given following the results of a notable Canadian study in which also Greece participated.

The Canadian study COLCORONA showed that the administration of colchicine to covid-19 patients “reduced mortality by 44%, hospitalization by 25% hospitalization and the need for mechanical ventilation by 50%” Cardiology Professor and National Coordinator for the Greek part of the study Spyros Defteraios explained.

According to the state-run news agency Amna, the Committee in Greece decided “the administration of colchicine after a doctor’s prescription in certain categories of patients with a positive coronavirus molecular test.”

The administration will be given to all patients over the age of 60 who have a positive molecular test regardless of whether they have underlying diseases. Also, patients 18-60 with at least one underlying health issues or fever over 38 for at least 48 hours.

COVID-19 is often more severe in people 60+yrs or with underlying health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes or conditions that affect their immune system.​

The decision was made on Saturday and will be officially announced by the National Health Organization EODY.

The Canadian COLCORONA study was conducted among 4,500 Covid-19 patients.

Also Greece participated in the study with National Coordinator Professor Spyros Defteraios and members Sotiris Tsiodras, Panagiotis Gargalianos, D. Vrachatis and S. Giotakis, and activated centers in Athens, Kozani (Dr Eythalia Randou),  Alexandroupoli (Prof. Periklis Panagopoulos) Thriasio hospital (Dr. Christoforos Olympios) and Patras (Prof. Markos Marangos).

The Canadian study follows the 1st published randomized study GRECCO-19 that involved 16 centers in Greece and scientific input from the Universities Humanitas Clinical Research Hospital (Italy), Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe (Spain), Mount Sinai (USA), Yale (USA)

Speaking to AMNA, Professor Gargalianos pointed out that the Canadian study confirmed the initial findings of the European study.

“We clearly saw in this study a significant reduction in the need for hospitalization in patients who received the drug in the early stages of the disease, better progression of the disease and reduction of severe disease as well as a reduction in mortality.”

The anti-inflammatory effect of colchicine has been known for years, as it is a safe, cheap and effective drug that cardiologists use, including in pericarditis.

Colchicine has reportedly therapeutic, anti-inflammatory properties in pericarditis, has been in use for over 100 years. It s administration to Covid-19 patients started when scientists thought it would shield the body from the side negative inflammatory effects created by the SARS-CoV-2.

The study was launched March 2020 and cost $14 million. The Quebec government and several organisations funded the study.