The Montreal Heart Institute’s Research Center is launching a COVID-19 clinical study in Canada to determine whether short-term treatment would reduce the risk of pulmonary complications and related deaths.

The clinical study, named COLCORONA, coordinated by the Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Center (MHICC) is funded by the Government of Quebec.

COLCORONA will evaluate the phenomenon of major inflammatory storm present in adults suffering from severe complications related to COVID-19. The researchers hypothesized that the treatment could reduce the complications associated with COVID-19.

The clinical study will involve the recruitment of approximately 6000 participants followed for 30 days. Initial results will be available a few days after study completion.

Tech giant CGI has developed the technology platform that supports it, while pharmaceutical company Pharmascience has manufactured batches of colchicine. Telus also helped establish the telephone line.


CGI received a call from the Montreal Heart Institute last week to develop a technology platform capable of collecting patient data securely.

"We immediately put in place a team that counted up to 40 people and worked around the clock. We are talking about hundreds of hours," said Julie Godin, co-chair of the board of directors and executive vice-president, planning and strategic development, at CGI.

All development costs were borne by the company and by the Godin Family Foundation.

Colchicine is an anti-inflammatory that targets the immune system and is already on the market for a few diseases, including gout, this form of inflammatory arthritis that attacks the big toe.

Montreal Clinical Trials Coordination Center’s doctors have good reason to believe that this drug could prevent COVID-19 patients from developing so-called "major inflammatory storms", which prevent patients from breathing well and can cause dead.

If scientists win their bet, the hospitalization rate and death related to the disease would drop, reducing the fear of seeing intensive care units overcrowded as is currently the case in Italy. It is already on drugstore shelves around the world, costs less than $1 a day, and could prevent serious complications from COVID-19

To verify the potential of colchicine, the Montreal Heart Institute is launching a clinical study like no one has ever seen. In Canada, 6000 patients with COVID-19 and at risk of developing serious symptoms will be involved.

Half will receive the drug and the other half will receive a placebo.