A nasal spray with a potential to halt coronavirus from duplicating, researchers revealed, is currently under development.
As the entire world race to find a cure to end the coronavirus pandemic, a group of scientists led and administered by Professor Miles Carroll, the Deputy Director at Public Health England, claim in a study that a nasal spray can “significantly reduced” virus levels in the nasal area.
The study, though it shows promising results, need to be peer-reviewed yet.
Nasal spray could stop virus from replicating
The nasal spray, which is loaded with a drug-like molecule called INNA-051, is a preventive nasal treatment that targets throat and nose cells to activate the body’s immune system.
By targeting the body’s innate immune system, a visiting professor at Imperial College London, and an Australian biotech firm adviser explained, the substance triggers and activates a series of processes that stimulate mechanisms that could halt coronavirus from replicating within the cells. Part of it is the release of cytokines or signaling proteins.
“It kicks in like a defense shield, which is broad-spectrum and non-specific,” Robert Solari told The Guardian.
The study began by giving a varying dosage of the drug-like molecule INNA-051 to eighteen ferrets that are divided into three groups. The fourth group, on the one hand, was given a placebo.
The day after the procedure, the scientists exposed the ferrets to SARS-CoV-2—the virus the causes the COVID-19 disease—and were observed for the following twelve days.
But the researchers found that those that were administered with the nasal spray treatment, the genetic material of the virus was reduced by 96% compared to those that were given a placebo five days after the animals were infected.
Solari also hopes that nasal spray treatment can eventually help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. He also said it could be a preventive measure that a person can use a couple of times a week, specifically for high-risk categories including healthcare workers.
“If you reduce the number of viral particles in the nose, the hope is that it would reduce transmission – although they haven’t done those studies yet,” Solari said.
Ena Respiratory seeks more funding
The nasal treatment is currently being developed under Ena Respiratory, an Australian biotech firm. Per the reports, the treatment could reach human trials in the next four months.
The biotech company has already raised a total of $8.24 million to develop the treatment as well, led mainly by Australia’s largest biotech investor Brandon Capital. The company also seeks further funding to speed up the development and global distribution of nasal spray treatment.