May 22nd, 2020
IRCM and ICAV submitted a grant application to CIHR seeking support for a clinical trial with isoquercetin in hospitalized COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms.
Isoquercetin is well tolerated at prescribed doses and has minimal side effects. The basic science behind this initiative stems from the collaboration between the National Microbiology Laboratory (Winnipeg) and Drs. M.Chrétien and M.Mbikay at the IRCM. They demonstrated that isoquercetin has antiviral activity in mice against the Ebola and Zika viruses. They now have preliminary in vitro results with the SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19.
The proposed clinical trial will test the efficacy of Isoquercetin in hospitalized COVID19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The hope is four-fold: a) To lower the viral load; b) To diminish the over-reaction of the immune system; c) To prevent the thrombotic complications; and, d) To cure more patients and significantly lower the death rate.
Isoquercetin has several competitive advantages: a) It is a broad spectrum antiviral; b) It acts also as an anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic; c) It is given by mouth while convalescent plasma (CP) and remdesivir are administered I.V., exposing medical personnel to greater hazard; d) It is a natural product easy to produce in large quantities at low cost; and, e) If it saves lives, it could be available immediately contrary to the months and years anticipated for vaccine(s).
Among the many therapeutics tested against the COVID-19, only CP and some anti IL-6 drugs have had beneficial results. Remdesivir accelerates by 30% the recovery of patients but does not significantly reduce the death rate. All the others (hydroxychloroquine, lapinavir/ritonavir etc…) failed to show sufficient results, some were harmful.
The International Consortium on Anti-Virals (ICAV), a Canadian NGO founded in 2003 by Drs. Carver and Chrétien, is providing expert management and regulatory support to the IRCM in preparing for the clinical trial. Dr. C. Tremblay, an infectious disease specialist at the CHUM/U.de Montréal, has agreed to be the lead clinical investigator of a multi-center trial on COVID-19 with other clinical scientists: Drs Emilia Liana Falcone (CHUM/IRCM), Gilbert Cornut (Hôpital Notre-Dame) and Jonathan Angel (Ottawa Hospital).