A low-cost, easy-to-use nasal spray co-developed by researchers at the University of Oxford reduced the risk of COVID-19 infection by 62% in a clinical trial.
,[The spray] This presents 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 respiratory viruses.
This prevents the virus from infecting the tissues that line the nasal cavity, thereby blocking the primary entry route of the coronavirus into the body. This is different from a vaccine, which prepares (and lasts longer) the immune system to attack a specific virus.
During the trial, 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 adverse effects were reported in either group.
“Now we have an effective tool to fight this virus, which was missing before.”
When participants were tested for COVID-19 antibodies – which indicate that they had been infected, even if they never developed symptoms – 34.5 in the placebo group compared to only 13.1% in the treatment group. % were infected.
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This showed that the nasal spray reduced the risk of infection by 62%.
Uppal said, “We now have an effective tool to fight this virus, which was previously missing, and designed to provide additional protection against COVID-19, in addition to vaccines, face masks and washing your hands Is.”
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, because Omicron’s mechanism for entering the body is similar to Delta’s, the researchers believe that their nasal spray will be equally effective against it. And any future variants (though they note in their paper that studies are needed to confirm that assumption).
“We’ve tested it against all viruses of concern, all mutations of concern, and it has similar efficacy…”
“The virus has to go through some very specific chemical reactions in order to enter the cell,” Uppal explained in November 2021. “We have been able to find a way to manipulate that chemical reaction, and therefore block the virus from entering.”
“We’ve tested it against all viruses of concern, all mutations of concern, and it has the same efficacy as it is a chemically 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 strain of COVID-19.
looking ahead: Researchers are now applying for regulatory approval to begin production and distribution of pHOXWELL in India, with the goal of expanding to other countries in the future.
They note that the nasal spray is cheap, easy to produce and easy to store, which could make it particularly beneficial in low-income countries, where only 20% of people 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.