Coronavirus, San Raffaele: “Positive results on colchicine, effective in home use”


Milan, June 9, 2020 – Coronavirus emergency, how to intervene to treat those who get sick? The effectiveness of treatments in patients it also depends, and above all, on earliness of their administration. That’s why i doctors of the IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, to intercept and turn off the inflammatory response triggered by the new Covid-19 in the very early stages of the disease, have decided to intervene on the territory by administering colchicine at home, a molecule with anti-inflammatory effects known since ancient times.

The study, conducted by Emanuel Della Torre, researcher at the San Raffaele Life-Health University and immunologist at the Immunology, Rheumatology, Allergology and Rare Diseases Unit of IRCCS San Raffaele, and coordinated by Moreno Tresoldi, head of the General Medicine and Advanced Care Unit, describes for the first time the efficacy and safety of the anti-inflammatory drug in positive Covid patients and stresses the importance of acting promptly, to reduce the risk that a possible progression in respiratory failure leads to an overflow of critical cases in hospitals. The study was recently published in the journal Clinical Immunology.

“The study was conducted in the month of March, in the midst of a pandemic. We administered colchicine to 9 home patients who, over the course of the days, had shown clinical characteristics suggestive of a hyper-inflammatory evolution” explained Moreno Tresoldi, coordinator of study. Covid-19 in most cases debuts as one flu-like syndrome that tends to resolve itself. In about 30% of cases, on the other hand, after an initial prodromal phase there is the appearance of high fever, cough and respiratory fatigue.

“This patient population is the one most at risk of hospitalization and ventilatory support because dyspnea rapidly develops into respiratory failure” specifies Tresoldi. “Colchicine was administered with a loading dose followed by a maintenance dose after at least five days of fever above 38 C “- explains Emanuel Della Torre, first name of the research.” All 9 patients treated at home have cheated within 72 hours with resolution of the cough and only in one case had to be hospitalized for low flow oxygen support. ”

“In our study – continues Emanuel Della Torre – we decided to use colchicine for the possible interference of this drug with the pathogenic mechanisms implicated in Covid-19. Colchicine, in fact, works by blocking the activation of the inflammasome, preventing excessive accumulation of inflammatory cells in the tissues, and, according to some studies, hindering the entry of the virus into the cells “.

“Although larger studies are needed to confirm these results, our experience raises important food for thought in terms of therapeutic strategies and health policies,” concludes Moreno Tresoldi. “On the one hand, considering that it is un drug widespread in all countries of the world, administered orally and at low cost, colchicine represents a molecule readily available for the treatment of Covid-19. On the other hand, we are strongly convinced that acting on the territory is fundamental for early interception of the inflammatory response triggered by Sars-CoV-2, avoiding the progression of respiratory insufficiency of clinical pictures at risk, and reducing the influx of critical cases in hospitals and in intensive care “.

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