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A Review of the Rational and Current Evidence on Colchicine for COVID-19
, Mohammad Amjad Kamal,

The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has affected millions of individuals worldwide. Despite extensive research efforts, few therapeutic options currently offer direct clinical benefits for COVID-19 patients. Despite the advances in our understanding of COVID-19, the mortality rates remain significantly high owing to the high viral transmission rates in several countries and the rise of various mutations in the SARS-CoV-2. One currently available and widely used drug that combines both anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory actions is colchicine, which has been proposed as a possible treatment option for COVID-19. Colchicine still did not get much attention from the medical and scientific communities despite its antiinflammatory and immunomodulatory mechanisms of action and positive preliminary data from early trials. This literature review article provides the scientific rationale for repurposing colchicine as a potential therapy for COVID-19. Further, we summarize colchicine's mechanisms of action and possible roles in COVID-19 patients. Finally, we supplement this review with a summary of the doses, side effects, and early efficacy data from clinical trials to date. Despite the promising early findings from multiple observational and clinical trials about the potential of colchicine in COVID-19, the data from the RECOVERY trial, the largest COVID-19 randomized controlled trial (RCT) in the world, showed no evidence of clinical benefits in mortality, hospital stays, or disease progression (n = 11340 patients). However, multiple other smaller clinical trials showed significant clinical benefits. We conclude that while current evidence does not support the use of colchicine for treating COVID-19, the present body of evidence is heterogeneous and inconclusive. The drug cannot be used in clinical practice or abandoned from clinical research without additional large RCTs providing more robust evidence. At present, the drug should not be used except for investigational purposes.

Anti-inflammatory agents; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; colchicine; immune modulators; immunosuppressive agents.
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