Researchers Create Nasal Spray for COVID-19 That May Already Be Safe for Humans

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Researchers from the University of Birmingham, UK, announced today that they have developed a nasal spray that can potentially provide protection against COVID-19. Additionally, it is formulated using materials that have already been cleared for use in humans.

The team from the institution’s Healthcare Technologies Institute created the spray using compounds that are already approved by regulatory authorities in the UK, Europe and the U.S. They are widely used in medical devices, medicine and even food products, suggesting that they are safe for use in humans. The formulation itself is made up of λcarrageenan, along with a gellan polysaccharide. Both are already widely manufactured to pharmaceutical grade.

"This spray is made from readily available products that are already being used in food products and medicines, and we purposely built these conditions into our design process,” said Dr. Richard Moakes, who helped lead the research. “It means that, with the right partners, we could start mass production within weeks. 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."

A pre-print study, which has not been peer reviewed, describes the cell culture that tested the formulation. Thus far, research has shown that the formulation can significantly suppress the infection of cell cultures that encounter live viruses. The University of Birmingham Enterprise has filed a patent application covering the formulation for use as an oral, nasal or multi-surface spray.

However, this is not the only nasal spray in development to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Halberd Corporation announced back in October that it had obtained a worldwide license to a provisional patent application for such a nasal spray. The patent, “Nasal Spray To Prevent The Transmission Of Covid-19 Between Humans,” was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by its inventor, Mitchell S. Felder, M.D.

“Multiple medical articles have shown that intranasal ACE2 receptors have been a key factor in the Covid-19 infectious process,” said Felder in a press statement. “Recent medical articles have shown the importance of the initial viral load in ultimately determining clinical manifestations.”

The nasal spray is meant to be used as a prophylactic against COVID-19, but also coronaviruses in general. The formulation works with an antibody and a solution that blocks ACE2 receptors found in nasal epithelial cells. The nasal spray may be able to decrease the severity of clinical manifestations in patients by decreasing the original COVID-19 viral load.

“We continue to closely monitor technology advancements, across all of our sites, in the fight against Covid-19 and develop products to address the most pressing needs,” said William A. Hartman, Chairman, President & CEO of Halberd Corporation. “We continue to make progress towards this goal.”

As of Nov. 19, there have been more than 11 million cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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