As further waves of coronavirus infections sweep around the world, research teams are hunting for ways to tackle the disease in addition to vaccines.
Just announced is a nasal spray formulated by a research team at the University of Birmingham Healthcare Technologies Institute in England, using materials already cleared for use in humans, report media sources.
The spray is designed to catch and coat the virus inside the nose, from where it can be eliminated by either nose-blowing or swallowing. If any coated virus particles are passed on to another person via a sneeze or cough, that person is less likely to be infected by active virus particles, researchers say.
Regular applications of the spray could significantly reduce disease transmission, and researchers believe it could be particularly useful in areas where crowding is less avoidable, such as on flights, in classrooms and in theatres and pubs.
PrNewswire comments that crucially the spray uses compounds already approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US, and widely used in medicines and even food products. This means that the normal procedures to bring a new product to market are simplified, and the nasal spray could be commercially available very quickly.
Team leader Richard Moakes told Sky News, “Products like these don’t replace existing measures such as mask wearing and handwashing, which will continue to be vital to preventing the spread of the virus.
“What this spray will do, however, is add a second layer of protection to prevent and slow virus transmission.”