To date, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 infection, and in some countries, drugs used in previous coronavirus outbreaks (SARS-coronavirus and MERS-coronavirus) are administered despite little or no evidence of their effectiveness. For SARS-CoV2. The first experience of managing patients with drugs with antiviral activity such as Interferon α, Lopinavir/Ritonavir, Chloroquine, Ribavirin, and Umifenovir (the latter not available in Colombia) was proposed in the guide for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of pneumonia due to COVID- 19 from the ROC National Health Commission (6th version, released February 18, 2020) (16). Lopinavir/Ritonavir showed some activity against SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. However, in a recent study in patients with SARS-CoV2, the use of Lopinavir/Ritonavir 400/100 mg every 12 hours for 14 days did not demonstrate statistically significant differences in mortality compared to standard treatment without drug therapy (19.2 % vs. 25.0%; 95% CI, −17.3 to 5.7). In vitro, Hydroxychloroquine was more potent antiviral than Chloroquine, making Hydroxychloroquine a possible therapeutic option (17), thanks to the inhibition of viral replication due to its immunomodulatory effects (18). However, the study by Gelesis et al. (19) in 1376 patients, of whom 811 (58.9%) received Hydroxychloroquine, there were no differences regarding intubation or death compared to the group that did not receive it (hazard ratio, 1.04, 95% confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.32).
A retrospective study did not find an association between the use of macrolides and the 90-day mortality outcome or less clearance of the disease (follow-up for clinical, non-virological signs) when tested against MERS-coronavirus (20).
Although the administration of corticosteroids was controversial at the beginning of the pandemic, given the clinical studies in other viral respiratory infections (respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, SARS-coronavirus or MERS-coronavirus) that associated the use of corticosteroids with increased mortality and infections nosocomial, higher viral persistence and a higher rate of adverse reactions such as psychosis (dose-dependent), diabetes and vascular necrosis. (21), Recent evidence changed opinion about them Villar et al. (22), in a placebo-controlled, randomized, and multicenter study, found that patients with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) treated with dexamethasone had lower mortality (21% vs. 36%, p <0.0047) and Wu et al. (23) in patients with ARDS due to COVID-19, showed a decrease in the risk of death in patients treated with methylprednisolone (HR, 0.38; 95% CI, 0.20-0.72). More recently, the RECOVERY results (13) modified the treatment guidelines. In this study, patients who received dexamethasone had a decrease in mortality in a third of ventilated patients (frequency ratio 0.65 [95% confidence interval: 0.48 to 0.88]; p = 0.0003) and in a fifth in other patients who received oxygen only (0.80 [0.67 to 0.96]; p = 0.0021).
Different studies have documented a cytokine release syndrome in patients with severe Covid19 (24), with an increase in tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), followed by an increase in Interleukin (IL) -1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and interferon γ ( IFN-γ) (25).
Colchicine, an alkaloid derivative of the Colchicum genus plants, inhibits IL-1β and IL-18 by interacting with the inflammasome Nod-like receptor protein 3 inflammasome protein complex 1 (NLRP-3), for which it is hypothesized that it could be useful in severe Covid-19 pneumonia. (26)
Mansouri et al. (27) described the improvement of a 42-year-old patient with Covid-19 pneumonia and cytokine release syndrome with early administration of colchicine, evidenced by clinical improvement and decrease in severity markers, including ferritin, D dimer, and normalization of levels of IL-6. Scarsi et al. (28) conducted a proof-of-concept study in a single hospital in Italy, where they administered colchicine to 122 hospitalized patients with Covid-19 Pneumonia. They compared them with a standard care group without colchicine, showing a lower risk in the survival analysis of death in those patients who received colchicine (HR = 0.151 (95% CI 0.062 to 0.368).
In the GRECCO randomized clinical study (14), the use of colchicine decreased the primary endpoint of clinical deterioration in 1.8% (1 of 55 patients who received it) vs. 14.0% (7 of 50 patients who did not receive colchicine) odds ratio, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.01-0.96; P = 0.02)
According to our literature review, this is the first multicenter study reported to date, with a greater number of patients who were administered corticosteroids plus colchicine (145) for the management of Covid-19 pneumonia. 14 (9.7%) died vs 23 (14.7%) of those who did not receive it (p = 0.179), but there was a decrease in fatal outcome by 38.2% (OR = 0.618; 95% CI: 0.305-1.253). Factors that possibly affected the result can be explained by the sample's size, mainly, and to a lesser extent, the time of initiation of the drug.
Regarding mortality in our population, patients with Covid-19 Pneumonia who received management with corticosteroids and colchicine had an overall mortality of 12.3%, low compared to hospital statistics from developed countries, such as Germany, which has been recognized as one of the few countries that did not see its capacity to respond to the pandemic exceeded. In an observational study by Karagiannidis et al. (29) in 10,021 patients in 920 hospitals in the German country, the overall mortality was 22%, 16% for those who did not require mechanical ventilation vs. 53% for those who did.
Due to the observational nature of this study, the reported findings should be interpreted with caution. Randomized, placebo-controlled clinical studies are required to evaluate the effect of administered drug therapy.