Can BDA’s medical cannabis product treat long-COVID symptoms?
Bod Australia Limited (ASX:BDA) has entered into a collaboration agreement with the UK’s leading independent scientific body on drugs, Drug Science UK, which has the potential to unlock a large market opportunity for BDA in the treatment of long-term symptoms of COVID-19.
BDA is a medicinal cannabis, CBD and hemp healthcare products company operating within two distinct verticals: Medical Cannabis and CBD and Hemp Consumer products.
As we reported yesterday, BDA has an exclusive global partnership with Health & Happiness (H&H) Group, which owns a number of powerful consumer brands in the health and wellness space including iconic Australian brand Swisse through which it sells a range of consumer products.
Today’s announcement focuses on its medical cannabis division.
BDA’s pharmaceutical-grade, medicinal cannabis is currently available in Australia and the UK and during H1 FY2021, BDA filled a total of 3,941 MediCabilisTM prescriptions, highlighting a 114% increase on the previous corresponding year.
Today’s announcement states that Drug Science UK will assess the efficacy of BDA’s medicinal cannabis, MediCabilis®, in managing symptoms associated with the long term impact of COVID-19 – known as long-COVID.
Founded in 2010 by Professor David Nutt, Drug Science is the only completely independent, science-led drugs charity in the UK.
Drug Science brings together leading experts to help create the foundation for sensible and effective evidence based drug laws free from political and commercial influence.
BDA already has a longstanding relationship with Drug Science and was a founding launch partner of Project Twenty21, a medicinal cannabis registry that aims to create the UK’s largest body of evidence for the effectiveness and tolerability of medicinal cannabis.
Long-COVID refers to the lengthy time it takes for people who experience symptoms of COVID-19 to recover. This can be weeks or even months.
Common symptoms include sleep disturbances, chronic pain, anxiety and fatigue – all symptoms that may be treatable with cannabis based medicinal products.
Currently, there is no treatment for symptoms associated with long-COVID.
However, there is an urgent need to identify and study potential ways to manage this emerging clinical condition.
MediCabilis® is currently used to treat a range of conditions including pain and anxiety and the Company is confident that the product may assist with people suffering from long-COVID.
As stated above, this collaboration could unlock a new market for BDA in the treatment of long-COVID. It is estimated that one in 10 people that test positive for COVID-19 will have symptoms for 12 weeks after diagnosis and that one in five have long-COVID symptoms for five weeks or more.
“While much progress has been made in the treatment of COVID-19, the effects of the disease are expected to continue into the foreseeable future and symptoms are likely to linger for many patients,” BDA CEO Jo Patterson said.
“This collaboration with Drug Science will not only strengthen the body of evidence for the use of MediCabilis®, but also potentially address the growing unmet health concerns around long-COVID.
“MediCabilis® is currently being prescribed for a number of chronic conditions and we are confident that this initiative will provide patients with a pathway to manage the effects of long-COVID and improve their quality of life.”
Commencement of the trial and first patient recruitments will begin in the coming months.
This type of study certainly has the backing of the UK government, with NHS England recently investing £10M ($17.8M) in specialist long-COVID clinics.
“We are excited to have entered into this collaboration agreement with Bod Australia to explore the efficacy of medicinal cannabis on long-COVID symptoms,” Drug Science Founder, Professor David Nutt said.
“Bod has a scientific approach, that aligns well with Drug Science. We look forward to working with the Company to further explore the benefits of cannabinoid based products on chronic conditions including pain, anxiety and fatigue.”
As part of the collaboration agreement, BDA will sponsor the proposed clinical study and provide its MediCabilis® product to participants at a cost that it does not expect to be material.
BDA and Drug Science UK will collaborate on trial design, and Drug Science will provide its extensive scientific expertise, independent doctors and scientists and conduct the study according to Good Clinical Practice standards through an approved cannabis prescriber in the UK.
Drug Science will also be responsible for the collection and analysis of all data.
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