A study has raised hopes that a pill that costs less 30p and is commonly used to treat gout could reduce the risk of people who catch Covid-19 having to be admitted to hospital.

A trial by Canadian researchers involving more than 4,000 subjects suggested that taking a daily dose of colchicine at home reduced the risk of hospital admission by 25 per cent in people with underlying health conditions.

The scientists behind the study said the results were “clinically persuasive and should change clinical practice”.

Other experts said that the results were encouraging but more details needed to be published to be sure of the drug’s effects.

“The idea that colchicine, an old-fashioned drug, can treat Covid and at an early stage is really,

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