Trademark as Zincona-C, the product will contain zinc gluconate containing 20mg of zinc and 40mg of vitamin C for every 100mg of the formulation. Zinc gluconate is a zinc salt form of gluconic acid.
The institute, under the country’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has finished the development of the formulation and is seeking to license the product to commercial firms.
In addition, it has planned for a clinical trial of the product, which comes in the form of a tablet, on mild to moderate COVID-19 patients. The trial is expected to take place within June.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Dr Ram Vishwakarma, director of IIIM Jammu, said the supplement would be trialled as a nutritional support in COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms and administered alongside medical interventions.
The product will make use of a proprietary fermentation technology developed by the institute 15 years ago.
According to Dr Vishwakarma, it is currently widely used in both Indian and foreign companies to produce zinc gluconate in human and animal health products.
“It has a higher bioavailability because using the fermentation technology, the zinc is in complex with an organic molecule and so it is more soluble and more bioavailable as compared to inorganic zinc,” he said.
The six-month long trial will recruit about 400 to 500 subjects and the product is expected to launch in the market after the end of the trials.
“We have completed the formulation and we will start the trial in the next 15 days or one month. We are trying to find an industry partner to market the product.”
Existing evidence on zinc
An essential trace element, zinc is now at the spotlight for its role as an antioxidant and strengthening the immune system amid the current pandemic.
Some examples include Bayer with its Redoxon Triple Action vitamin C, D, and zinc formula which contains 10mg of zinc. Blackmores’ Bio C 1000+ Effervescent also contains zinc gluconate with 5mg of zinc.
Existing studies also showed that zinc gluconate is effective in shortening the duration of common cold.
Based on the results of four randomised trials, a 2017 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the Royal Society found that zinc gluconate lozenges could reduce the duration of common cold by 28%.