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Colchicine appears to work against COVID-19
The Herbstzeitlose (Colchicum autumnale) is highly toxic and can even be fatal to humans in small quantities. According to a recent study, an active ingredient that slows down the recovery of a COVID-19 disease seems to be slumbering in this poisonous plant.
In a small clinical study, a Greek research team showed that the active ingredient colchicine, which comes from the autumn timeless, appears to accelerate recovery in COVID-19. The results were presented in the renowned journal "JAMA Network Open".
Colchicine - a traditional gout remedy
Colchicine is a traditional remedy for gout attacks. The alkaloid from the real-time seeds can relieve severe pain that occurs in the course of a gout disease. At the same time, colchicine is also a strong mitotic poison, which affects cell division. That is why the active ingredient is rarely used in gout today and replaced by safe medication.
Colchicine for heart inflammation
The active ingredient has become more of a focus of research in recent years because it appears to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect. In the treatment of inflammatory heart diseases such as pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium), colchicine has shown good effectiveness in low doses.
How does colchicine inhibit inflammation?
As already mentioned above, the active ingredient from the autumn season affects cell division (mitosis). More specifically, colchicine blocks mitosis of certain cells. This leads to a reduction in the inflammatory reaction, since white blood cells (leukocytes) usually develop during cell division and are recruited for the inflammatory reaction. The absence of new leukocytes thus reduces the inflammatory process.
What does that have to do with COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a condition that causes severe inflammatory reactions. Colchicine is an active ingredient that is inexpensive to manufacture and is considered safe in low doses. At least twelve clinical studies are currently investigating the effectiveness of colchicine in COVID-19. The Greek research team now presented the first results.
A total of 105 symptomatic COVID-19 sufferers were treated with low-dose colchicine or a placebo. The study results show that COVID-19 disease worsened less frequently in the colchicine group. On a 7-point scale to determine the severity of the disease, the value in the colchicine group declined by an average of 2 points.
Limitations of the study
It is a small clinical trial. The patients were also treated with other medications. Almost all participants also received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, around 50 percent were given a blood coagulant and one third of the treatment was supplemented with lopinavir or ritonavir.
It is therefore unclear what actual contribution colchicin made. Does the remedy only work in combination with other drugs or when given alone or is the effect primarily due to the other drugs?
Study team is optimistic
"The results of this study indicate that colchicine plays a role in the treatment of COVID-19," the researchers conclude. The outstanding studies will clarify exactly what role this will be. (vb)
Mugwort extracts also seem to work against COVID-19. Read: This medicinal plant works against SARS-CoV-2.
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Deutsches Aerzteblatt international: COVID-19: Study Indicates Colchicine Effectiveness (published: 02.07.2020), aerzteblatt.de
- Spyridon G. Deftereos, Georgios Giannopoulos, Dimitrios A. Vrachatis, u.a .: Effect of Colchicine vs Standard Care on Cardiac and Inflammatory Biomarkers and Clinical Outcomes in Patients Hospitalized With Coronavirus Disease 2019 The GRECCO-19 Randomized Clinical Trial; in: JAMA Network Open, 2020, jamanetwork.com