LONDON: A nasal spray that can prevent coronavirus infections and transmissions has been developed by a team of scientists at the University of Birmingham in the UK, Sky News reported on Thursday.
The study backing the spray, which is awaiting peer review, claims it catches and neutralizes the virus in the nose, where it can be destroyed by blowing through the nostrils or swallowing.
As the spray envelops the virus, any particles that are passed on to another person through sneezing or coughing are less likely to result in transmission, scientists said.
“Although our noses filter thousands of liters of air each day, there is not much protection from infection, and most airborne viruses are transmitted via the nasal passage,” said Prof. Liam Grover, one of the leading researchers.
“The spray we have formulated delivers that protection, but can also prevent the virus being passed from person to person.”
Lab experiments revealed that the spray could prevent infection for up to two days. Scientists said regular use could “significantly reduce disease transmission.”
It could be particularly useful in crowded buildings or areas, including airports and classrooms, researchers said.
“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. It means that, with the right partners, we could start mass production within weeks,” said Dr. Richard Moakes, co-author of the study.
“Products like these don’t replace existing measures such as wearing masks and washing hands, which will continue to be vital to preventing the spread of the virus. However, what this spray will do is add a second layer of protection to prevent and slow virus transmission.”
This development comes as both Pfizer and Moderna announced major breakthroughs in the fight against the pandemic in the form of vaccines that are 95 percent effective.