News that one of Immuron’s (ASX:IMC) drug candidates could take on COVID-19 has got investors in a frenzy this morning.

Immuron is better known for its gut-health pursuits. Its flagship products Travelan and Protectyn are digestive health supplements that fight travellers’ diarrhoea.

But this morning the company revealed that its drug IMM-124E could also help in the fight against COVID-19.

The company conducted an in-vitro assessment on four production lots of product used to manufacture Travelan. IMM-124E demonstrated neutralising activity against the virus, meaning it was able to inhibit replication.


Diarrhoea a common COVID-19 symptom

Immuron’s interest in treating COVID-19 with a diarrhoea drug stems from the fact that it is a common symptom in another coronavirus — bovine coronavirus, which affects cows.

Diarrhoea is also becoming an increasingly common COVID-19 symptom.

CEO Jerry Kanellos pointed to the fact that the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recently included it on its list of symptoms, and that there were an increasing number of COVID-19 cases without respiratory problems but with gastrointestinal symptoms.

Additionally, the inner-gut lining expresses high amounts of the angiotensin-coverting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which COVID-19 uses to gain entry into cells.

“The preliminary data set we have generated potentially offers a new oral therapeutic approach to target and directly inhibit the virus in the gastrointestinal track and warrants further evaluation to identify the inhibitory substances in our products,” Dr Kanellos said.

Immuron has submitted a provisional patent application in respect of these findings. Stockhead has contacted the company for further comment.


Good news keeps flowing

This was the second consecutive day of good news for Immuron shareholders.

Yesterday the company revealed the FDA gave it written guidance to support its Investigational New Drug (IND) application.

The company plans to undertake two separate phase II clinical studies in the US in 2021 to test its the effectiveness of its drugs against campylobacteriosis and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) — bacteria that commonly causes travellers’ diarrhoea.

Immuron also confirmed yesterday that its manufacturing program was proceeding as planned.

Shares more than doubled this morning and are well up from the 8c it was trading at in early June.

Immuron (ASX:IMC) share price graph