4.7 million new cases were reported in the past week, a decline of 6% from last week. However, the number of new deaths has increased to a record high at 93.000, increasing nearly 10% from last week. Over 2 million people worldwide have now died from COVID-19. European countries reported a 15% decline in new cases with the Americas and countries in South-East Asia showing more moderate declines, despite the emergence of new highly transmissible variants in Brazil during this time period.
Cases, however, increased in Eastern Mediterranean, African and Western Pacific countries.
In the past week, the five countries reporting the highest number of cases were the USA (11% decrease), Brazil (21% increase), UK (19% decrease), Russia (1% increase) and France (2% increase).
Results from the Montreal Heart Institute’s COLCORONA trial were released this week and provided evidence for the use of colchicine as a treatment to reduce death or hospitalisations in patients with COVID-19. Colchicine is an old anti-inflammatory drug that is cheap and widely available and is most commonly used in the treatment of gout.
The COLCORONA trial was a prospective, randomized trial of over 4,000 patients with confirmed COVID-19. Colchicine was shown to result in a 25% decrease in hospitalisations, a 50% decrease in the use of ventilation, and a 44% decrease in the number of deaths. It is important to note that this trial included only non-hospitalized patients with confirmed infections. It is, therefore, potentially highly relevant to the prevention of deterioration in employees on operational sites.
The raw data has not yet been released and it is difficult to comment further until such time as these are available. However, should these results be replicated elsewhere, this could be a significant development. It is worth cautioning, however, that colchicine has a narrow therapeutic range and potential toxicity as well as causing diarrhoea, and we would therefore caution against the use of the drug before further corroborating evidence is released.