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The gold-standard animal study, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, was led by Public Health England’s (PHE) Deputy Director, Professor Miles Carroll and published today on biomedical pre-publication research site, medRxiv. The recent study on animals found the nasal spray reduced the growth of coronavirus. The study was conducted on ferrets.
Scientists performed experiments that found administration of the nasal spray delivered once or twice a week prevented infection in at-risk populations.
The company which developed the product, Ena Respiratory, could be ready to test the spray, called INNA-051, in a human trials in less than four months.
These tests will be subject to successful studies and regulatory approval.
The nasal treatment was originally developed to boost the natural human immune system to fight common colds and flu.
The study shows it has been successful in fighting against coronavirus in the laboratory among animals.
The nasal spray works by stimulating the innate immune system.
The innate immune system is the first line of defence against the invasion of pathogens into the body.
Ena Respiratory Managing Director, Dr Christophe Demaison said: “We’ve been amazed by just how effective our treatment has been.
“By boosting the natural immune response of the ferrets with our treatment, we’ve seen a rapid eradication of the virus.
“If humans respond in a similar way, the benefits of treatment are two-fold.
“Individuals exposed to the virus would most likely rapidly eliminate it, with the treatment ensuring that the disease does not progress beyond mild symptoms.
“This is particularly relevant to vulnerable members of the community.
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“In addition, the rapidity of this response means that the infected individuals are unlikely to pass it on, meaning a swift halt to community transmission.”
Ena Respiratory is hoping to complete clinical development and global distribution.
Professor Roberto Solari a respiratory specialist at Imperial College London said: “This is a significant development as the world races to find a solution to halt COVID-19 transmission and infection of at risk-populations.
“Most exciting is the ability of INNA-051 to significantly reduce virus levels in the nose and throat, giving hope that this therapy could reduce COVID-19 transmission by infected people, especially those who may be presymptomatic or asymptomatic and thus unaware they are infectious.”
The authors of the study include scientists from Public Health England (PHE), Ena Respiratory, and leading Australian research organisations, the Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle and the University of Melbourne.
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