Updated: September 29, 2020 05:25 PM
Created: September 29, 2020 03:52 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Two biologists at New Mexico Tech developed a nasal spray that they say blocks COVID-19.
"It is now known that primary site of COVID infection is in the nose," said Dr. Snezna Rogelj. "There are some mucosal membranes that are back there and that is where the virus settled upon inhalation of aerosolized viral particles so it populates there. So we’re trying to create a membrane through which the virus would be unable to penetrate. It would be destroyed in the process.”
Dr. Danielle Turner and Dr. Snezna Rogelj said the nasal spray has been years in the making.
The nasal spray is based on a substance licensed by Parnell Pharmaceuticals, from New Mexico Tech, to treat drug-resistant bacteria and fungi.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the doctors realized it could also be used to attack the virus.
"Our product kills 99.977% of SARS-CoV-2, again in a lab, but still really promising," Turner said.
The federal government still needs to approve the nasal spray, and it must also go through clinical trials before it hits the market.
"It could be within months. It could be beginning of next year," Turner said. "That’s our biggest hope, as quickly as possible, get it out there to help people.”
The doctors hope the nasal spray will be available over-the-counter, affordable, and easy to use between one and three times a day.
"We hope that it’s going to slow down the spread of the infection and give everybody time to get vaccinated, so it’s really buying time to keep as many people safe before the vaccine comes along," Rogelj said. " This is not a permanent solution. It definitely, if it works out, will be protective one day at a time.”
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