MONTREAL -- Quebec Premier Francois Legault on Saturday invited Quebecers with COVID-19 to take part in a clinical trial led by the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) that is studying the effectiveness of an old drug in treating the new disease.

The COLCORONA study is looking into whether colchicine, a drug commonly prescribed to treat gout, could be used as a treatment for COVID-19.

On Friday evening, the Montreal Health Institute announced that after preliminary trials it has received permission from an independent committee to recruit more participants, an important step in a clinical study.

“We are pleased to have achieved this important milestone and now await the final results of COLCORONA, to determine the effect of colchicine in preventing complications in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19,” Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif of the MHI and the Universite de Montreal, who is the primary investigator in the COLCORONA study.

“We are committed to including a large number of patients worldwide in this robust study to determine the effect of colchicine on the serious inflammatory storm seen with COVID-19, potentially keeping patients out of the hospital and ultimately saving lives."

On Saturday, Legault tweeted his praise for Tardif and his team of researchers and invited Quebecers to sign up for the next steps of the clinical trial.

COLCORONA researchers are looking for non-hospitalized patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have the symptoms associated with it - such as coughing, difficulty breathing, fever and a loss of smell - to take part in the expanded clinical trial.

Anyone interested in taking part can find more information and register here or by calling 1-877-536-6837.