Cannalogue and Manitoba prepare Covid-19 drug testing

26th March 2020 (Last Updated March 26th, 2020 11:09)

Canada-based healthcare technology firm Cannalogue has applied to Health Canada seeking approval for a real-world clinical trial of medical cannabis to treat Covid-19.

Cannalogue and Manitoba prepare Covid-19 drug testing
Canadian researchers trial anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19. Credit: University of Manitoba.

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Canada-based healthcare technology firm Cannalogue has applied to Health Canada seeking approval for a real-world clinical trial of medical cannabis to treat Covid-19.

The trial is intended to assess if medical cannabis could mitigate the symptoms caused by Covid-19 infection or any mutant coronavirus strains.

Cannalogue president and CEO Dr Mohan Cooray said: “We are not suggesting with the current knowledge of medical cannabis that it is a prevention, treatment or cure for Covid-19 or coronaviruses.

“However, plant cannabinoids have naturally occurring immunomodulatory properties that absolutely require expedited investigation given the current global Covid-19 pandemic.”

Cooray added that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors, which are naturally present on immune cells in the body, may reduce the inflammatory response that leads to severe Covid-19 symptoms.

Manitoba trials hydroxychloroquine

Researchers at the University of Manitoba in Canada have launched a clinical trial to evaluate the use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in preventing Covid-19.

The trial is designed to enrol people who tested positive and those living with individuals who test positive. It will also recruit healthcare workers exposed to Covid-19 patients.

The trial will be conducted in Quebec and Alberta in Canada, as well as in the US.

Hydroxychloroquine or placebo will be shipped to the participant, who will take the intervention for five days.

University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine internal medicine department associate professor Dr Ryan Zarychanski said: “The ultimate goal is to have as many Manitobans enrolled in the clinical trial as fast possible so that there are therapeutic options during the pandemic, not for the next pandemic, but this one.

“So by getting trials started quickly we will know, in short order, if these unproven drugs work and we should then offer them to everyone.”

This is the first of six Covid-19 trials to be conducted by University of Manitoba researchers.

Montreal Heart Institute’s Research Center in Canada recently initiated a trial to assess a short-term therapy for mitigating the risk of pulmonary complications and deaths in Covid-19 patients.