Is MGC Pharma Sitting on a Potential Treatment for COVID-19?

MGC Pharmaceuticals is scheduled to release results from its interim analysis of the double-blind Phase II clinical trials on its anti-inflammatory formula 'ArtemiC' on patients with COVID-19 sometime in the next few weeks. What could this mean for investors?

The COVID-19 pandemic has plagued the entirety of 2020 and may continue well into the future. To date, there have been over 18 million confirmed cases, over 687K deaths, and hundreds of thousands of new cases being confirmed every day.

In order to mitigate the spread of the virus, countries, and states are enacting lockdown laws, requiring citizens to maintain a safe distance from one another and to limit travel wherever possible. In some instances, like the case of Victoria most recently, citizens have a curfew and will face penalties for being out beyond it.

As a result of the lockdowns, businesses have been hit hard, creating one of the worst recessions in history, with the United States' GDP shrinking by a record-high annual rate of 32.9%. Needless to say, the world is desperate for some kind of cure for COVID-19 that will allow countries to get back to business as usual and begin repairing the economic fallout that's currently occurring.

The economic effects of the coronavirus around the world | World Economic  Forum

Though while many are anticipating a COVID-19 vaccine, there may be some issues with the vaccination route, primarily that just 50% of U.S. citizens said they planned on getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, in Germany, similar anti-vaccination sentiments are arising, with anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination protests occurring recently which drew thousands of attendees.

The growing anti-vaccine sentiment is problematic, as scientists have estimated that 70% of the global population would need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to be mitigated. Moreover, while some predict that a vaccine will be ready in early 2021, there is no way to say for certain when a vaccine will emerge for mass public adoption – and that's if people are even willing to be vaccinated.

So where does MGC Pharma come in?

MGC Pharma's anti-inflammatory formulation 'ArtemiC'

MGC Pharmaceuticals (ASX: MXC) is currently undergoing a double-blind phase II randomized clinical trial on COVID-19 patients using their novel formula 'ArtemiC,' which is a natural supplement formula based on Artemisinin, Curcumin and other supporting ingredients that share anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulatory and antioxidant properties.

The active compounds within ArtemiC have a well-known antiviral and anti-inflammatory ability, however they typically aren't easily absorbed in the body due to their low bioavailability. In order to mitigate this, MGC has utilized Swiss PharmaCan AG's patented MyCell Enhanced™ delivery system nanotechnology, to create a synergy of the materials within ArtemiC, enhancing the capabilities of the compounds within it while also improving the bioavailability and absorption.

The company received Ethics Committee approval on the 17th April 2020 for its trials in Israel, which have since been geographically expanded to the Mahatma Gandhi Mission's Medical College & Hospital in India, where a full ethical review was undertaken with ethics committee approval received. Additionally, MGC Pharma has also been selected by the World Health Organisation to participate in a global COVID-19 taskforce by reporting on the ArtemiC trial.

But of course, there are currently hundreds of ongoing trials and studies in which companies and researchers are hoping to find a cure for COVID-19, so what's different about ArtemiC?

Well, the reason ArtemiC could promising in treating COVID-19 is due to the fact that COVID-19 is not always dangerous in and of itself, but rather, it's the body's reaction to coronavirus that often causes health issues.

For some people who contract the virus, their immune system goes into hyperdrive, known as a "cytokine storm" which effectively leads to severe damages to the body secondary to its dysregulated activity.

In many cases, it's actually the overactive immune response which leads to fatalities, rather than the virus itself. This is where ArtemiC could come in handy.

The proven immune-modulatory effects of the ingredients within ArtemiC mean that, in theory, patients may be able to avoid some of the immune-related issues that follow a contraction of coronavirus. However, all of this depends on the upcoming results that MGC is slated to release in the coming weeks.

Though there is already cause for excitement. As per the company's recent announcement, ArtemiC was given to mice in a pre-clinical trial at the Science in Action Laboratory in Ness Ziona, Israel, which revealed "no clinical signs or adverse reactions [to ArtemiC] from the full panel of hematology and chemistry blood tests."

The Upcoming ArtemiC Results

It doesn't take a genius to realize that any company that helps to create a product or formula which can help COVID-19 patients will be sitting very, very pretty moving forward. Should MGC's upcoming results achieve a positive endpoint, investors can surely expect an uptick in stock prices – this has already happened with some of the company's ArtemiC announcements in the past.

And if the upcoming trial produces positive results, the company will be able to promptly release ArtemiC to market thanks to its recently signed distribution agreements.

Results from MGC Pharma's double-blind Phase II trial on COVID-19 patients in Israel are due in early August, so they could come any day now. When the results arrive, investors should be keeping a keen eye on whether ArtemiC can successfully minimize the body's immunological response to COVID-19, and to what extent.

If ArtemiC shows a capacity for minimizing the potential for a "cytokine storm," the formula could play an enormous role – not only in minimizing the symptoms felt by patients, but also by reducing the rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19, which could massively relieve the currently overburdened healthcare systems globally. MGC Pharma may be sitting on a winning ticket.

All information within this article regarding MGC is derived from publicly-available information on their website.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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