A nasal spray that can provide effective protection against the COVID-19 virus has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, using materials already cleared for use in humans.
A team in the University’s Healthcare Technologies Institute formulated the spray using compounds already widely approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US. The materials are already widely used in medical devices, medicines and even food products. This means that the normal complex procedures to take a new product to market are greatly simplified, so the spray could be commercially available very quickly.
A pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) study describes cell culture experiments designed to test the ability of the solution to inhibit infection. They found cell-virus cultures inhibited the infection up to 48 hours after being treated with the solution and when diluted many times. The spray is composed of two polysaccharide polymers. The first, an antiviral agent called carrageenan, is commonly used in foods as a thickening agent, while the second a solution called gellan, was selected for its ability to stick to cells inside the nose.
The gellan, is an important component because it has the ability to be sprayed into fine droplets inside the nasal cavity, where it can cover the surface evenly, and stay at the delivery site, rather than sliding downwards and out of the nose.