After Greece, Cyprus OK’s Colchicine for Treating COVID-19 Patients


Τhe anti-gout drug colchicine. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Tatiana Bollari)

NICOSIA -- Following the lead of Greece, Cyprus' Health Ministry plans to allow the use of the anti-gout drug colchicine as a treatment for COVID-19 patients in Cyprus after a Canadian study found it is effective in many cases.

One of the government's scientific advisors. Dr. Constantinos Tsioutis made the announcement, with Cyprus in a second lockdown but declining cases leading to the likelihood it could be eased as soon as Feb. 1.

The Candian study on colchicine in patients with COVID-19 showed a significant benefit with a 44 percent drop in deaths, 25 percent in hospitalization and 50 percent in people being put on ventilators in hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs.)

Tsioutis, a member of the ministry’s Scientific Team, told the Cyprus News AGency that colchicine is safe and tested in several diseases and reduces the inflammatory reaction of the body.

He explained the drug has a good safety profile and noted that there is a lot of clinical experience because it’s an old anti-inflammatory drug. “What remains to be done is to examine the data in detail,” he added.

The Scientific Team, he said, should look at some details, such as on which groups of patients should be given the medicine and how to monitor progress and response to the drug, the report added.

Colchicine will be administered in pill form, after medical evaluation, only on prescription and after a positive molecular test, to patients over 60, regardless of whether they have underlying conditions, and patients aged 18-60 years with at least one underlying condition or fever above 38° Celsius (100.4 Fahrenheit.)

Greece’s panel of scientific and medical advisors gave approval earlier, said Professor of cardiology Spyros Deftereos, who coordinated a study, the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA) said.