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  • Medicinal cannabis company Medlab (MDC) is testing the chloroquine anti-malaria drug against COVID-19 through its NanoCelle platform
  • NanoCelle is a drug delivery platform wherein drugs access the bloodstream through the mouth
  • According to Medlab, NanoCelle is designed to bring about the same effectiveness as a pill but with a lower dose of the drug
  • Chloroquine has proven some positive coronavirus results in early stages of testing but can carry some severe side effects
  • As such, Medlab’s Proof of Concept formulation will test if NanoCelle can deliver the drug as effectively but in a smaller amount
  • Shares in Medlab gained just over nine per cent today to close worth 24 cents each.

Medicinal cannabis company, Medlab (MDC) has added chloroquine to its NanoCelle drug delivery platform as part of some COVID-19 research.

Chloroquine is an anti-malaria drug of the same family as the President Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine treatment. Both drugs are currently under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Medlab has integrated the drug into its NanoCelle delivery platform in a Proof of Concept formulation designed to test if the positive effects of Chloroquine can be realised in a more efficient dosage.

Open wide

Essentially, the NanoCelle platform delivers drugs as an oral spray. The drugs enter the body through the oro-buccal membrane, which is along the lining of the cheek and on the roof of the mouth.

The chloroquine formulation is still in early stages and the drug is not approved for COVID-19 use outside of investigative trials.

Currently, potential side-effects of chloroquine use can range from headaches and itchy skin to eye damage and seizures.

Thus, while the drug has allegedly brought about some positive coronavirus outcomes in early stages of testing, clinics across the world are cautious about how much of the drug is needed before it becomes useful.

This is where NanoCelle comes in.

Quality, not quantity

Essentially, Medlab said the NanoCelle platform is designed to bypass “first-pass metabolism”, which is when the concentration of a drug is dramatically reduced in the body before it actually circulates around the body.

By entering through the oro-buccal membrane, drugs applied using NanoCelle can achieve the same results as other treatments but with a lower concentration.

Of course, the hope is that for chloroquine, the drug can be administered in a low-enough concentration that the benefits are realised while the side-effects are reduced.

Medlab Director of Medical Research Professor Luis Vitetta said normally, up to 77 per cent of orally-ingested chloroquine is excreted through urine.

“Considering the clinical literature with regards to CQ [chloroquine], our focus is about the efficient and effective delivery of CQ that accesses the bloodstream. Hopefully, this would translate to lesser side effects as cited in current literature,” Professor Luis explained.

Being in Proof of Concept stage, it’s not yet known whether NanoCelle will prove efficient in the delivery of chloroquine. However, investors seem pleased with the vote of confidence today’s news gives to Medlab’s tech.

Shares in the company gained 9.09 per cent today to close worth 24 cents each.

MDC by the numbers
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