An inexpensive, easy-to-use nasal spray co-developed by researchers at Oxford University reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection by 62% in a clinical study.
,[The spray] This represents a significant breakthrough in preventing people from developing COVID-19, said researcher Rakesh Uppal, director of Barts Life Sciences.
nasal spray, The easy to use spray called pHOXWELL – just two sprays in each nostril provides 6 to 8 hours of protection against COVID-19 and other airborne viruses.
This prevents the virus from infecting the tissues lining the nasal cavity, thereby blocking the coronavirus’s primary route of entry into the body. This differs from a vaccine, which prepares (and lasts longer) the immune system to attack a specific virus.
During the study, 556 unvaccinated healthcare workers who had no prior COVID-19 infection used a nasal spray or a placebo three times a day for 45 days. No serious side effects were reported in either group.
“Now we have an effective tool to fight this virus that was previously lacking.”
When participants were tested for COVID-19 antibodies – which indicate they were infected even if they never developed symptoms – 34.5% in the placebo group compared to just 13.1% in the treatment group. % were infected.
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It was shown that the nasal spray reduced the risk of infection by 62%.
Uppal said: “We now have an effective tool to combat this virus that was previously lacking and which aims to provide additional protection against COVID-19, in addition to vaccines, face masks and hand washing.”
powerful weapon: Clinical trials were conducted in India from April to July 2021, when the Delta variant was dominant and the Omron variant is now responsible for most infections.
However, since Omicron’s mechanism for entering the body is similar to Delta’s, the researchers believe their nasal spray will be just as effective against it. and all future variants (although in their paper they note that studies are needed to confirm this assumption).
“We’ve tested it against all the viruses of concern and all the mutations of concern, and it has similar potency…”
“The virus has to go through some very specific chemical reactions in order to enter the cell,” Uppal explained in November 2021. “We were able to find a way to manipulate this chemical reaction and thus block the entry of the virus.”
“We’ve tested it against all the viruses of concern and all the mutations of concern, and it has the same potency as a chemical-based solution,” he said.
This universality gives the nasal spray an advantage over our available vaccines, which are not nearly as effective against new variants as the original COVID-19 strain.
Looking ahead: Researchers are now applying for regulatory approval to begin manufacturing and commercializing pHOXWELL in India with a view to expanding the product to other countries in the future.
They note that the nasal spray is cheap, easy to make and easy to store, which could make it particularly beneficial in low-income countries, where only 20% of people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. is – compared to 72% in high-income countries.
This article was originally published by our sister site Freethink.