A team of scientists from the University of Helsinki say they have developed a nasal spray that could provide protection against all variants of COVID-19 for up to eight hours.
The researchers said they have developed a molecule that renders the spike protein the coronavirus uses to infect other cells inactive. They have only tested the treatment on mice but are extremely excited by the results.
“Our results highlight the potential of intranasal inhibitors in protecting susceptible individuals from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and describe a novel type of inhibitor that could be of use in addressing the challenge posed by the omicron variant,” the researchers said.
They published their research last month and are waiting for the results to be peer-reviewed before they begin human trials.
The researchers hope the nasal spray can be used to prevent the virus from spreading, especially in high-risk environments.
“This technology is cheap and highly manufacturable, and the inhibitor works equally well against all variants,” study author Kalle Saksela told Gizmodo in an email. “It works also against the now-extinct SARS virus, so it might well also serve as an emergency measure against possible new coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-3 and -4).”
Saksela cautioned that the new treatment is not a vaccine and is not meant to provide long-lasting protection against COVID-19.
“Its prophylactic use is meant to protect from SARS-CoV-2 infection,” Saksela explained. “However, it is not a vaccine, nor meant to be an alternative for vaccines, but rather to complement vaccination for providing additional protection for successfully vaccinated individuals in high-risk situations, and especially for immunocompromised persons—for example, those receiving immunosuppressive therapy.”