Common gout drug does not help hospitalised COVID-19 adults - UK study

Medical staff treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients at Milton Keynes University Hospital, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Milton Keynes
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(Reuters) - A commonly used gout drug did not have any effect on patients hospitalised with COVID-19, a large UK study found, prompting scientists to halt enrolments in a blow to finding uses for existing treatments in taming the pandemic.

An independent panel suggested pausing recruitment of volunteers in the colchicine arm of UK's RECOVERY trial, based on a preliminary analysis, scientists involved in the study said on Friday, adding that the panel did not think more volunteers could provide further data.

A follow up in ongoing and final data is expected to be published soon, scientists at the University of Oxford said.

RECOVERY, backed by the UK government, is the world's largest trial of treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 adults and has found two treatments that could help survival chances in patients admitted with infection of the new coronavirus.

"Whilst we are disappointed that the overall result (for colchicine) is negative, it is still important information for the future care of patients in the UK and worldwide," said Peter Horby, co-lead investigator of the trial.

Colchicine is an inexpensive anti-inflammatory treatment, and the results come days after another UK study began testing it for treating early-stage COVID-19.

The scientists said recruitment in other arms of RECOVERY, testing blood-thinner aspirin and some antibody-based treatments, including Regeneron's cocktail, are continuing as planned.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)