Colchicine

Scientists in Canada have launched a study to look into the possible use of colchicine, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug, to treat COVID-19.

About the Drug

Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory drug that was first extracted from a plant called Autumn Crocus. It has been in use since the times of ancient Egyptian Civilisation. It was first isolated in 1820 by French chemist and purified in 1833. It is currently used as an oral drug.

Uses

Colchicine is mostly used for the treatment of gout- a type of inflammatory arthritis that affect the joints. It is also used for treatment of inflammatory disorders like Behcet’s disease. There are several ill effects associated with overuse of colchicine- adverse effects on gastrointestinal system, anaemia, bone marrow damage, hair loss, etc.

Cytokine Storm

The Canadian research team is targeting the effects of cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients. Cytokine storm is a condition where a patient’s immune system overreacts and attacks the lung tissues leading to respiratory distress and even organ failure. It is due to overproduction of immune system activating compounds called cytokines.

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