- Immuron's (IMC) share price has more than doubled on the news a drug used in its traveller's diarrhoea formulation neutralises activity aginst the COVID-19 virus
- The company tested its IMM-124E treatment and has seen antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
- IMM-124E is used to manufacture the company's over-the-counter gastrointestinal and digestive health immune supplements, dubbed Travelan and Protectyn
- To further investigate the treatment's effects, Immuron has researched the bovine coronavirus, commonly found in cows, and how it spreads through feces
- Because of these findings, Immuron is now looking into what significance an oral therapeutic treatment would have in the fight against COVID-19
- The company has filed a provisional patent application to protect these findings
- On the market today, Immuron is up a whopping 145 per cent and is trading for 60 cents per share
Immuron's (IMC) share price has more than doubled on the news a drug used in its traveller's diarrhoea formulation neutralises activity aginst the COVID-19 virus.
The company's IMME-124E drug is used to manufacture Immuron's over-the-counter gastrointestinal and digestive health immune supplements, dubbed Travelan and Protectyn.
Now, Immuron says IMME-124E has seen antiviral activity against the COVID-19 virus in laboratory studies. The company tested the product on SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
The studies were conducted by Melbourne-based contract research organisation 360 Biolabs. Interestingly, Immuron decided to test the drug on SARS-CoV-2 due to its knowledge of bovine coronavirus.
What is bovine coronavirus?
Bovine coronavirus is common in dairy cows and is transmitted by infected feces taken in via the mouth or nose. The virus starts in the small intestine and eventually reaches the large intestine.
To prevent newborn calves getting the disease, the pregnant cows are vaccinated to enhance the level of maternal antibodies, which are then transferred to their offspring.
Other ways of preventing and treating the coronavirus involve feeding antibodies against the virus. This can be achieved by feeding antibody-rich colostrum from coronavirus vaccinated animals to the calves.
"Therefore, the possibility of producing a Hyper-immune Bovine Colostrum to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is quite high," the company explained.
"However, the prevalence and prognosis of digestive system involvement and gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with COVID-19 remains largely unknown," it added.
Does bovine coronavirus change the current COVID-19 research?
COVID-19 patients are known to have respiratory problems, however, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain have also been observed in a growing number of patients with no respiratory symptoms.
CEO Dr Jerry Kanellos said in the U.S., the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention recently updated the symptoms of the coronavirus to include diarrhea.
"This growing clinical evidence suggests that the Gastrointestinal tract may present another viral target organ," he said.
"The virus RNA has been detected in anal swabs of patients even after nasopharyngeal testing has turned negative, and cells in the inner-gut lining
express high amounts of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor that SARS-CoV-2 uses to gain entry to cells implying the potential for gastrointestinal infection and a fecal–oral transmission route," he explained.
If the fecal-to-oral transmission is an important factor in the pandemic, then an oral therapeutic treatment would have a significant impact. However, at this stage, the research is still inconclusive.
Immuron's new discovery can potentially offer a new oral therapeutic approach to target and directly inhibit the virus in the gastrointestinal tract.
The company has filed a provisional patent application to protect these findings.
On the market today, Immuron is up a whopping 145 per cent and is trading for 60 cents per share at 1:22 pm AEST.