Researchers have announced that they are in the process of creating a nasal spray that could prevent coronavirus for a limited time. The spray could potentially be hitting high street pharmacy shelves by the summer and could even help schools reopen.
A nasal spray that blocks COVID
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have been working on the nasal spray since April last year are now in talks with pharmaceutical companies in order to have the spray mass-produced.
The nasal spray, whose name is yet to be released, has been revealed to be made up of medical ingredients that have already been approved for medical use. This means that the spray doesn’t require further approval and is completely safe to use.
Back in November, researchers announced that the spray prevented coronavirus from spreading for up to 48 hours. The team working on the spray believes that when applied four times a day the spray would be enough for general protection. But, it could even be safe if reapplied every 20 minutes in high-risk areas.
Dr Richard Moakes, the lead scientists in charge of the nasal spray’ study suggests that the spray could even help schools to reopen. He spoke to the Independent:
We think it will help in schools, as one of the good things about the formulation of the nasal spray is that it would not need to be reformulated for children. It means we would give it to children and adults alike, and it might be able to get schools going again.
Moakes continued, announcing his high hopes that the spray will be available for purchase by the summer:
I am confident that the formulation can make an impact. Our goal is to make an impact as soon as possible, we would really like to see this happen by summer.
How does the spray work?
The anti-coronavirus nasal spray is made up of a combination of ingredients including carrageenan, a thickening agent commonly used in food, as well as a gelling agent called gellan. Together, these ingredients work to capture the virus in the nose and wrap it in a coating which it can’t escape from. This then makes it safe for the user to breathe out because even if inhaled by another person, the virus would be inactive and effectively harmless. Professor Liam Grover, co-author of the study revealed last year:
Although our noses filter thousands of litres of air each day, there is not much protection from infection and most airborne viruses are transmitted via the nasal passage. The spray we have formulated delivers that protection but can also prevent the virus being passed from person to person.
However, it is important to note that even if the nasal spray is released, it should not be considered as a replacement for coronavirus safety measures or vaccination. In order to effectively curb the spread of the virus, everyone should ensure that they are doing all they can to protect themselves and others from getting sick.