As places such as New York and New Jersey, and now Israel, once again, head into what is for some, the sixth month of shutdowns due to Covid-19, people within the world are getting restless. The hope for an actual vaccine seems far away, even as President Trump tries to assure the United States that one is expected within two months, challenging his own medical experts.
Dr. Richard Novak, who oversees Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said a vaccine in October is not realistic, and President Trump’s own director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Robert Redfield, echoed the same sentiment.
While waiting on a vaccine, scientists and entrepreneurs are hard at work looking for measures that could help alleviate the impact of the virus and stave off the harshest of symptoms. Todos Medical Ltd (OTCQB:TOMDF) an Israeli company that leads the development of rapid COVID-19 tests, is also taking a dive into medicine that helps the immune system fight off the novel coronavirus. The company, in conjunction with NLC Pharma, is studying the use of nutraceuticals: both as a preventative measure and reactionary measure.
Todos’ CEO, Gerald Commissiong stresses the importance of preventative measures as we all wait for a vaccine. Todos is spearheading research on NLC-001, a proprietary blend of plant extracts that consumers would take in a pill form – like a much stronger vitamin that should be treated as a drug. The FDA granted a certificate of free sale, showing that it is safe to consume. Researchers are taking that further, by analyzing NLC-001’s ability to help 800+ patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Israel. The next step is conducting studies in the United States.
This powerful potential 3CL protease inhibitor is believed to help support and maintain healthy immune function and is said to play a vital role in the intracellular replication of coronaviruses. As such, 3CL protease inhibition is being evaluated as a potential therapeutic target for coronaviruses.
“Selected dietary supplements represent some of the most accessible and close-to-market alternatives to improve immune function. NLC is advancing clinical studies at hospitals in Israel to evaluate the efficacy of NLC-001 in the treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” Commissiong said.
The global immune health supplement industry is expected to grow over 9 percent between 2019-2025, according to the Immune Health Supplements Market – Global Outlook and Forecast 2020-2025 report. The growth follows the outbreak of COVID-19, which is not unexpected. In Q1 2020, the industry saw a massive spike in sales, with more than 50 percent of consumers claiming to have increased their consumption levels for health supplements, and over 30 percent planning to increase in the latter half of the year.
Supplements have generally been recognized for supporting good health, so the spike during the pandemic should come as a shock to no one. Even during tough economic times, the dietary supplement industry tends to thrive, as consumers regard it as a cheaper way to maintain overall health. It’s important to note, however, that these supplements may not make misleading or unproven claims about health benefits.
Earlier this year, Brian Tanzer, manager of scientific affairs for The Vitamin Shoppe told Nutritional Outlook, “Supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. This does not mean that during a time of crisis like this, they can’t play a role in supporting overall health and wellness.”
According to Commissiong, from what researchers Todos Medical is seeing so far, NLC-001 should be made widely available in the United States.
There have been other postexposure prophylaxis for Covid-19, such as hydroxychloroquine combined with Zinc and Azithromycin, but that had been received with mixed reviews laden in political overtones. However, nutraceuticals as a reactionary measure, or even to strengthen the immune systems beforehand are likely to be deemed noncontroversial supplements for treatment.