A second study answered a question I am often asked about neurological sequalae such as Guillain Barre syndrome among patients with COVID-19 infection, compared to risk of the same from vaccines. Patone et al linked country wide data from English National Immunisation (NIMS) Database of COVID-19 vaccinations with patient level data to examine incidence of neurological adverse events such acute central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating events, encephalitis meningitis and myelitis, Guillain–Barré syndrome, Bell’s palsy, myasthenic disorders, hemorrhagic stroke and subarachnoid hemorrhage in the 28 days following either having a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, or neither ChAdOx1nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 vaccines. The study reported increased incidence risk ratios (IRR) of hospitalization or death related to all of the aforementioned neurological events in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly in the time right after diagnosis. There was a small increase in IRR for Guillain-Barre syndrome (IRR, 2.90; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.15–3.92 at 15–21 days after vaccination) and Bell’s palsy (IRR, 1.29; 95% CI: 1.08–1.56 at 15–21 days) with ChAdOx1nCoV-19. However, this was lower than what was seen after a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (Guillain–Barré syndrome (IRR, 5.25; 95% CI: 3.00–9.18) and Bell’s Palsy, (IRR, 1.34; 95% CI: 0.91–1.97). There was a slightly increased association seen between hemorrhagic stroke and the first dose of BNT162b2, with IRR at 1–7 days (IRR, 1.27; 95% CI: 1.02–1.59) and 15–21 days (IRR, 1.38; 95% CI: 1.12–1.71). However, this risk was dwarfed compared to risk for hemorrhagic stroke seen up to 7 days after a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (IRR, 12.42; 95% CI: 7.73–19.95 at day 0; IRR, 2.01; 95% CI: 1.29–3.15 at 1–7 days). The results highlight immense increase of neurological events after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Lastly, the RECOVERY trial reported out results of colchicine treatment arm, where 5,610 patients were assigned to standard of care (SOC) with colchicine compared to 5,730 who just received standard of care. The ongoing RECOVERY trial has been an incredibly power tool in helping identify both some effective treatments as well as shedding light on the limited utility of others. No significant differences were seen between the treatment and SOC only arms in all-cause mortality (rate ratio [RR], 1.01; P = .77), the probability of being discharged alive within 28 days (RR, 0.98; P = .44), or the risk of progressing to invasive mechanical ventilation or death (RR, 1.02; P = .47). The large sample size as well as the well-controlled design provides good evidence that colchicine will not make the COVID-19 treatment arsenal.