A nasal spray that could stop Covid infections for up to two days may be available to buy in UK pharmacies by this summer, researchers have said.
Created by Dr Richard Moakes and his team at the University of Birmingham, the spray could help bring the UK out of lockdown restrictions, according to its creators.
Prevents further infection
The spray has been in development since April 2020, and its creators are currently in discussions with shops and pharmaceutical companies about how to mass produce it.
The formula helps to prevent further infection by capturing Covid in the nose and trapping it in a coating which it cannot escape from. This means the virus would be inactive and harmless, if breathed in by another person.
The research team said that tests in November showed the nasal spray prevented coronavirus infection from spreading for up to 48 hours.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Dr Moakes, the study’s lead researcher, said he thinks the spray will help the UK move away from social distancing restrictions.
“As an over the shelf product, we have spoken to companies with a presence on the high street as we think they could distribute it effectively,” he commented.
“Based on the product, it will be much quicker to get to the user than a novel drug.
“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.”
The research team believes use of the spray four times a day would be enough for general protection, although it is safe enough to be applied every 20 minutes if in a high risk, densely populated environment.
The spray is made up of a combination of an antiviral agent called carrageenan, which is commonly used in foods as a thickening agent, and a solution called gellan. Gellan is a gelling agent which has an ability to stick to cells inside the nose.