Scientists work on nasal spray that could stop Covid virus replicating


A nasal spray is under development that could nip a coronavirus infection in the bud, with promising results already seen in ferrets, researchers have revealed.

With coronavirus infections surging around the world, the race is on to develop a vaccine. But researchers are also looking for other ways to tackle Covid-19.

Now scientists have released the results of initial work on a drug-like molecule they say interacts with cells in the nasal cavity to activate the body’s innate immune system.

While immune responses triggered by vaccines involve the generation of antibodies and T-cells geared towards particular pathogens, the innate immune system responds to a wide range of microbes.

In a study that has yet to be peer-reviewed, the team behind the research, which includes scientists at Public Health England, revealed how they administered INNA-051 into the noses of three groups of six ferrets, in various doses, while a fourth group of six ferrets was given a placebo. Ferrets are an important animal model for Covid-19.

The day after administering a second dose of INNA-051 or placebo, the team exposed the ferrets to the virus that causes Covid-19, and the animals were monitored for 12 days via nasal and throat samples.

Five days after the ferrets were exposed to the coronavirus, the quantity of viral RNA – the genetic material of the virus – recovered from throat swabs was reduced by 96% among those given INNA-051 compared with those given the placebo.

Toxicology studies and human trials are now needed to explore whether INNA-051 is safe and effective against the virus in humans. US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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