- A team of researchers from Columbia University developed a nasal spray that prevents coronavirus from infecting cells in the weasel’s nose and lungs during the day.
- The drug works by stopping an important chemical process that occurs when the virus tries to infect cells, the only place where it can multiply.
- Scientists will have to demonstrate that this drug can provide similar protection in humans in clinical trials.
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently explained that the first coronavirus vaccine was unable to prevent infection. Doctors want these drugs to prevent severe COVID-19 disease. It is too early to say exactly how vaccinated individuals will deal with COVID-19, as research for the Phase 3 trials has not been published yet, but one possible scenario is the positive test. calculated after vaccination. The virus can infect the nose, which is usually the first stage of the infection. But by the time the virus exists, the body will be trained to recognize and neutralize it. This will prevent the virus from descending into the lower respiratory tract and multiplying to the level of respiratory complications.
Scientists are also working on drugs that can completely stop the infection. One idea is a monoclonal antibody, which can provide an enhancement of neutralizing antibodies to give the patient a temporary immunity. Also in these studies, a drug called ivermectin, showed suspicious effects in an Indian trial. But one of the coolest ideas so far is that a nasal spray has the ability to protect all day from infection.
The sprayed weasels protected from the coronavirus throughout the day, The New York Times report. Scientists will have to study this compound in humans and see if it works for them.
Scientists at Columbia University lead an international effort to develop a substance with antiviral properties. Medications can prevent the virus from infecting cells in the nose and lungs by alternating between cell receptors and mutating proteins that act like a key to unlocking those cells. Without access to cells, the virus cannot replicate on its own. The spray sounds like a vaccine that produces neutral antibodies that inhibit the same spike in protein.
The research has been published as a pre-evaluation and will need more research. But the results so far are promising.
The researchers applied a spray to six foxes, which were then divided into three pairs, each placed in a different cage. A placebo spray was given to two weasels in each cage. The researchers then placed in the cage a mink infected with SARS-CoV-2. The ferrets lived together for a day, and then the researchers tested them.
No weasel was infected with the drug. The placebo weasels were cured. “Reproduction of the virus has been completely blocked,” said the authors.
If it works well in humans, you can either sleep in bed with an infected person or stay with your infected children while still safe, ”says Dr. Anne Moscona Timer. The spray attaches to the cells in the nose and lungs, lasting about 24 hours.
Lipopeptide sprays are made up of a single cholesterol particle linked to a chain of amino acids. The lipopeptide exactly matches an amino acid sequence in the tip protein used to attach to the cell.
The researchers explain that the mutant protein decompresses to reveal two amino acid chains linked to the cell wall. The cell compresses again to complete the normal process. But that’s where the lipopeptides insert themselves and the virus can’t attach to the cell. The process is similar to a spaceship trying to land at a space station in the movies. If the two of you cannot lock in to a predetermined sequence of events, the spaceship cannot connect to the station to dump items (people on board) into it.
“It’s like you’re pulling a zipper, but you put another zipper inside, so the two sides can’t meet,” said Columbia University microbiologist Matteo Porotto.
Interestingly, amino acids coming from a mutant protein segment rarely mutate. The researchers used lipoprotein on four different coronavirus strains, including the Wuhan and Italian strains. They also used it on SARS and MERS, two other coronaviruses that have caused a worrying epidemic over the past 20 years. The seed protects the cells completely against SARS-CoV-2 and partly against SARS and MERS.
The good news doesn’t stop there, as lipoproteins are affordable to produce. It comes in lyophilized white powder that does not require refrigeration. This substance is then mixed with sugar and water to create a spray. Hence, the drug can be delivered anywhere without posing logistics issues. Some vaccines during Phase 3 of trial will need to be kept below freezing. Countries that lack the proper infrastructure will find it difficult to roll out these vaccines.
Nasal sprays will be more accessible than monoclonal antibodies deployed intravenously in hospital settings.
That said, it is not known whether the spray is effective in humans or not. Testing will also be needed to determine the safety of the drug before the spray can be approved for use.
The team has applied for a patent for the product and will request additional funding for clinical trials. The ferret research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Columbia University Medical Center.
Other researchers are also working on aerosol and aerosol treatments for COVID-19. One of them provides interferon to the airways to treat existing infections. Another one proposes a custom nut for the same purpose. Then there is a project that has developed an antibody-like nanoparticle that can be used in a nebulizer. Finally, researchers from Hong Kong are working on a dual coronavirus flu vaccine given through a nasal spray.