Montreal Heart Institute research director Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif (photo from MHI)

Alan Gignac, the CEO of the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, sent out a release officially informing the public that the MHI has launched a Canada-wide clinical study on a potential treatment for the Coronavirus. He wrote that he was sending the message, “with a sense of great pride and hope.”

Researchers at the MHI have been testing Colchicine, an anti-inflammatory, which appears to reduce some of the grave effects of respiratory distress brought on by Covid-19.Respiratory failure caused by inflammation is the major cause of death from the virus. Colchicine is actually in pharmacies around the world. It is not a new drug and costs less than a dollar a day in prescription protocols. The study will involve 6000 people and the MHI has 40 nurses working 24/7 to take calls from people willing to participate and see if they meet the criteria. You can consult the website at COLCORONA.ORG 1-877-536-6837.

MHI research director Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif told La Presse, “We have literally not slept for six days. Honestly, I think we have never seen this in history where a clinical study has been organized like this.What normally takes six months has been done in six days. The mobilization of doctors, researchers, private enterprises and governments has been absolutely extraordinary. If this works, and we stop the worst effects of the virus, it changes everything. The pressure on hospitals will be off as we won’t need to hospitalize so many and we won’t need quarantines.”

The MHI has been at the centre of a remarkable public/private partnership. The COLCORONA project was co-ordinated with the Centre for Clinical Studies of Montreal, financed by the Government of Quebec, the technological platform was developed by CGI, Pharmascience is producing the Colchicine and Telus installed the phone lines and communication platform.

Colchicine is a medication normally used to treat gout and Behçet’s disease. In gout, it is less preferred to NSAIDs or steroids. Other uses include the prevention of pericarditis and familial Mediterranean fever. It is taken by mouth. It is generally prescribed for a short-term and the MHI study will seek to determine if that is sufficient to reduce the risks of pulmonary complications and death related to Covid.

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