Canadian health authorities approved Norwegian biotechnology firm Hofseth BioCare's phase two of clinically assessing its salmon oil brand OmeGo as a potential treatment for patients with COVID-19 related acute respiratory distress syndrome.

The recruitment of 100 patients -- who are former smokers and steroid-resistant asthmatics -- will start immediately. The estimated time to gather preliminary data from the study is between eight and 12 weeks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will continue with great force, and it is very important to work quickly to develop life-saving treatment methods for COVID-19 patients," said Jon Olav Odegard, CFO of Hofseth BioCare.

The clinical trial aims to find evidence that the salmon oil can shorten a COVID-19 patient's time in the intensive care unit and reduce the number of patients needing respiratory care.

The study will take place in partnership with the Canadian research firm KGK Science and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

A portion of the patients will receive standard treatment, while the other participants in the trial will receive Hofseth BioCare's salmon oil.

If the study garners positive results, the company will escalate the trial to phase three with a group of 600 patients, Odegard said.

The clinical trial is funded by the company's existing research and development budget for 2020.