One of the few bright spots in ASX Covid news in the past week, amidst the emergence of the Omicron strain, has been Biotron (ASX:BIT).

The small cap biotech stock has been listed for over 20 years and has had a turbulent history, rising tenfold in 2018 after its BIT225 compound showed potential to fight HIV.

But since the emergance of the COVID-19 pandemic it has sought to develop a treatment against the virus.

And last week it announced the results of a pre-clinical study which showed BIT225 was effective albeit in mice.

The company told shareholders it was keen to proceed the drug into human clinical trials and they responded by more than doubling its share price.

Biotron’s boss Michelle Miller confirmed the plans with Stockhead, noting even with the emergence of COVID-19 treatments – such as the Pfizer and Merck pills – there might be a place for her company.

“It’s a good outcome and offers hope to a lot of people,” she said.

“The FDA are saying we need an arsenal of drugs.

“The vaccines are terrific but it’s not enough unfortunately – there are people even if fully vaccinated that are [at risk, being] immune-compromised or can get a breakthrough infection or vaccine deosn’t take as well.

“I think we are in an exciting spot at the moment.

“We’re in the process of talking to our US experts scoping out the process through the FDA’s Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program to really fast-track COVID treatments into the clinic.

“And they want things just like this, tablets or capsules that are direct anti-virals that can be quickly moved, so we’ll get a better understanding of what that’s going to entail.”


Other ASX stocks working on COVID treatments

One of the larger ASX stocks trying to prove a COVID-19 treatment is Mesoblast (ASX:MSB).

After its share price spiked throughout much of 2020 as it advanced one of its stem cell infusions (remestemcel-L) into the clinics, it crashed at the end of the year after a setback to that trial and has not recovered.

Yet the company is persisting with remestemcel-L. The FDA recently advised the company that if an additional study in COVID-19 showed positive outcomes, it might be enough to support an emergency use authorisation (EUA).

Among small caps, another company to attract attention recently is Immuron (ASX:IMC), which has completed early stage studies that have shown promising signs.

The list includes a couple of ASX stocks in the medical cannabis space – namely Incannex Healthcare (ASX:IHL) and MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX:MXC).

Others include Recce Pharmaceuticals (ASX:RCE), Noxopharm (ASX:NOX), Dimerix (ASX:DXB) and Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP).

Many of these companies have specifically targeted acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the major complications and causes of death from COVID-19.

The terrifying inflammatory response leaves patients struggling to breathe as their lungs fill with fluid.


Which ASX stocks are the most advanced in their fight against COVID?

Of all these companies, Incannex (ASX:IHL) has had the most positive moves with its ASX shares gaining over 250% in 12 months.

Admittedly much of this has been from progress with its other clinical programs, including against Generalised Anxiety Disorder and concussion.

Dimerix is one of the more advanced, seeking regulatory and ethics approval for a Phase III trial of its DMX-200 drug to be run across Australia and India.

At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Incannex, MXC Pharmaceuticals and Dimerix are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.