Anti-COVID-19 Nasal Spray Prevents Infection

Source: University of Birmingham

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have developed an anti-COVID-19 nasal spray that can provide protection against the disease.

Ease in lockdown measures across the world has given rise to the second wave of COVID-19. The world has reported over 58 million cases of the disease so far. The virus’s main mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets. However, researchers argue over the role of airborne transmission of the droplets in spreading the disease. To address this issue, researchers have designed an anti-COVID-19 nasal spray that can provide protection from airborne viruses. 

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.

Professor Liam Grover, co-author

Anti-COVID-19 Nasal Spray

The device possesses not only prophylactic properties but, also the ability to prevent viral transmission. According to the pre-print study, nasal spray is designed using readily available products. This will help make mass production of the device easier. 

The first polysaccharide polymer used for the spray is carrageenan, an antiviral agent. The second component, gellan, allows for an even distribution of the droplets and inhibits infection by sticking to cells inside the nose. Thus, delivering the spray efficiently to the large surface area of the nose.

How Does it Work?

Upon application, the spray solution covers the nasal mucosa. The mucoadhesive properties of the polymers allow the catching and coating of the virus particles inside the nose. The encapsulated virus can then exit the body via sneezing or swallowing. 

The spray solution that coats the virus inhibits viral uptake by host cells. Moreover, the entrapment of the virus inhibits viral shedding. This, along with carrageenan’s antiviral capacity, makes the device a powerful weapon in preventing contraction and transmission of the virus.

The researchers investigated the solution’s effectiveness using cell culture experiments. Unlike gellan, the carrageenan model demonstrated complete suppression of the SARS-CoV-2 virus for up to 48 hours.

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.

Dr. Richard Moakes, lead author of the study 

The authors of the study believe the spray could provide an added layer of protection in high-risk environments. Such as airplanes, hospitals, or crowded public transportation.


Richard J. A. Moakes et al. Formulation of a composite nasal spray enabling enhanced surface coverage and prophylaxis of SARS-COV-2, (2020). DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.18.388645


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