A compound, delivered via a nasal spray, proved effective at protecting against COVID-19 infections caused by the Delta variant.
In recent years, the interest in intranasal vaccines has increased considerably. Multiple studies have shown intranasal COVID-19 vaccines as effective at reducing viral shedding and inducing an immune response. Therefore, researchers have developed a nasal spray that can treat infections caused by all COVID-19 variants of concern, including the Delta variant. The nasal spray contained a compound called N-0385, designed by researchers at the Université de Sherbrooke. A team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) then tested this compound against four COVID-19 variants. Another team at Cornell University then tested a nasal spray containing the compound in mice infected with COVID-19. The team published their findings in the journal Nature.
The compound, N-0385, is a small molecule that prevents viral entry into cells. It does so by inhibiting an enzyme commonly found in nasal cells. When UBC researchers tested the compound against various COVID-19 variants in human lung cells and organoids, they found it to inhibit infection. Moreover, they did not find any evidence of toxicity.
As part of the study, Cornell researchers administered the compound via a nasal spray to genetically engineered mice infected with COVID-19. The mice received the compound for a total of four days. According to the results, all treated mice successfully survived the infection compared to just 20% of the untreated mice.
Additionally, when the compound-containing nasal spray was tested against the Delta variant, it not only helped prevent but also treat the infection. The study authors believe that the use of nasal spray in combination with existing treatments can help treat infections with emerging variants.
Shapira, T., Monreal, I.A., Dion, S.P. et al. A TMPRSS2 inhibitor acts as a pan-SARS-CoV-2 prophylactic and therapeutic. Nature (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04661-w