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19 November 2020 14:38

Smoking Research Food and Drug Administration

coronavirus

A nasal spray purportedly capable of preventing infection from coronavirus, as well as stopping people from infecting others, has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham. According to the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, it catches and coats the virus inside the nose, from where it can be eliminated by either nose-blowing or swallowing. As the virus is encapsulated in the spray, it is prevented from being taken-up by the body, so if any virus particles are passed on to another person via a sneeze or cough, that person is less likely to be infected by active virus particles, researchers say. Professor Liam Grover, one of the leading authors of the study, said: "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 team set out to create a spray that could cover the inside of the nose evenly, and remain where it is sprayed.

antiviral drug

According to the research papers, it is composed of two polysaccharide polymers. One is an antiviral agent called carrageenan, which is commonly used in foods as a thickening agent. The second is a solution called gellan, which was picked because of its ability to stick to cells inside the nose. Cell-culture laboratory experiments showed the spray prevented infection for up to 48 hours. Researchers say regular application of the spray could significantly reduce disease transmission, and believe it could be particularly useful in areas where crowding is less avoidable, such as on flights or in classrooms.

coronavirus

A spokesperson for the University of Birmingham told Sky News that there was "no specific funding" for the project, but that researchers "had been working on formulations for eyedrops that were funded by MRC (Medical Research Council) and NIHR (National Institute for Health Research)". "They were able to apply what they had learnt in that area to the development of the spray," they added. Co-author Dr Richard Moakes 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. "Products like these don't replace existing measures such as mask wearing and handwashing, which will continue to be vital to preventing the spread of the virus. It comes amid major breakthroughs in the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, with the makers of two leading candidates announcing both jabs are about 95% effective.

With a second wave of coronavirus infections surging across the world, researchers are also looking for other ways to tackle the disease. Anti-COVID-19 nasal spray 'ready for use in humans' A nasal spray that can provide effective protection against the COVID-19 virus has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, using materials already cleared for use in humans. A team in the University's Healthcare Technologies Institute formulated the spray using compounds already widely approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US. The materials are already widely used in medical devices, medicines and even food products. This means that the normal complex procedures to take a new product to market are greatly simplified, so the spray could be commercially available very quickly. A pre-print (not yet peer-reviewed) study describes cell culture experiments designed to test the ability of the solution to inhibit infection. They found cell-virus cultures inhibited the infection up to 48 hours after being treated with the solution and when diluted many times. The spray is composed of two polysaccharide polymers. The first, an antiviral agent called carrageenan, is commonly used in foods as a thickening agent, while the second a solution called gellan, was selected for its ability to stick to cells inside the nose. The gellan, is an important component because it has the ability to be sprayed into fine droplets inside the nasal cavity, where it can cover the surface evenly, and stay at the delivery site, rather than sliding downwards and out of the nose. Lead author on the paper, Dr Richard Moakes, 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. The spray works in two primary ways. Firstly, it catches and coats the virus inside the nose, from where it can be eliminated via the usual routes – either nose-blowing or swallowing. Secondly, because the virus is encapsulated in the spray's viscous coating, it is prevented from being uptaken by the body. That means it will reduce the viral load in the body, but also even if virus particles are passed on to another person via a sneeze or cough, that person is less likely to be infected by active virus particles. Co-author Professor Liam Grover, says: "Although our noses filter 1000s 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." The team believe the spray could be particularly useful in areas where crowding is less avoidable, such as aeroplanes or classrooms. Regular application of the spray could significantly reduce disease transmission. "Products like these don't replace existing measures such as mask wearing and handwashing, which will continue to be vital to preventing the spread of the virus," adds Dr Moakes. "What this spray will do, however, is add a second layer of protection to prevent and slow virus transmission." For media enquiries please contact Beck Lockwood, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel: +44 (0)781 3343348. The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world's top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries. "Complete Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 Via Site-Specific Formulation of Sprays". Researchers at the University of Birmingham have designed a nasal spray that they hope can provide protection against Covid-19. A team in the University's Healthcare Technologies Institute formulated the spray using compounds already approved by regulatory bodies in the UK, Europe and the US, meaning that the product's path to market is simplified and that it could be commercially available sooner. The formulation consists of an antiviral agent, λcarrageenan, and a gellan polysaccharide, both of which are already manufactured to pharmaceutical grade. The product works by catching and coating the SARS-CoV-2 virus inside the nose, preventing its uptake by the body, so it can be eliminated via the usual routes (either nose-blowing or swallowing. If the virus particles are passed to another person via a sneeze or a cough, the antiviral effect would reduce the risk of transmission of active viruses. The team believes the spray could be particularly useful in areas where crowding is less avoidable, such as aeroplanes or classrooms and regular application of the spray could significantly reduce disease transmission. A pre-print study (not yet peer-reviewed) describes cell culture that tested the ability of the formulation to inhibit Covid-19 infection. These studies showed the formulation can deliver significant (minimum of p<0.05) suppression of infection in cell cultures challenged by live virus compared to untreated controls, an effect seen up to 48 hours and when diluted many times. University of Birmingham Enterprise has filed a patent application covering the sprayable antiviral formulation for use as an oral, nasal or multi-surface spray, and is now seeking to license the patent to an organisation that is committed to manufacturing a consumer product and managing its distribution it to the widest possible audience. The researchers, led by professor Liam Grover and Dr Richard Moakes set out to engineer a spray that could cover the inside of the nose evenly, and stay at the site it is sprayed onto. The research team screened FDA-approved polymers for their muco-adhesive properties and their ability to 'plume' when sprayed using a typical nasal spray applicator. They then modelled the physical properties of a range of polymers, and quickly settled on gellan polysaccharide, which will improve the longevity of the application by ensuring the nasal spray stays inside the nose, before testing and characterising mixtures of gellan and λcarrageenan at various proportions, to find the formulation that delivers optimum 'sprayability' and viscosity. The team also determined the formulation's ability to prevent infection in cell cultures challenged by virus. The researchers tested the dosing by treating the virus before it was added to cell culture, and by treating the cells first and then introducing the virus, and concluded that the formulation prevents infection by putting a steric barrier around both the cells and the virus while the viruses are incapacitated by λcarrageenan. Dr Richard Moakes 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. "Products like these don't replace existing measures such as mask wearing and handwashing, which will continue to be vital to preventing the spread of the virus. What this spray will do, however, is add a second layer of protection to prevent and slow virus transmission."