New spray warns coronavirus infection in animal study

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If the spray turns out to be effective in humans, then we will get a new means of preventing COVID-19.

Scientists have tested a nasal spray that may prevent SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection in a small study on ferrets. Scientific work published at the bioRxiv preprint resource. The authors submitted it to the journal for review Science.

How the new spray works

The spray contains a lipopeptide, which consists of a particle of cholesterol bound to a chain of amino acids. It is able to bind to the spike protein of the coronavirus virus (it is this protein that allows the virus to enter the cells of the human and animal body).

The RNA of the virus enters the host cell after the spike protein binds to its wall. Scientists write that the active ingredient in their spray binds this protein, which prevents infection.

What scientists have done

Scientists assigned an experimental spray to six ferrets. After that, the animals were divided into pairs and placed in three cages. Two more ferrets were placed in each cage: one of them received a placebo spray, and the other was infected with SARS-CoV-2 one to two days before the start of the experiment.

After being in the same cage with an infected ferret for 24 hours, the animals that received the experimental spray did not contract the coronavirus. All ferrets who received the placebo were infected.

Scientists chose ferrets for the experiment because they get the flu and respiratory viral infections like humans. They have long been used to study colds.

The authors of the study indicate that the spray substance stays on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract for a whole day.

What does it mean

If the spray proves to be effective for humans, then we may have a new tool to fight the pandemic. Just one spray a day would reduce the risk of infection. Its active ingredient is cheap to manufacture and retains well.

“If the spray works on humans, it will be possible to sleep in the same bed with the infected or the infected will be able to stay with their healthy children. In this case, everyone will be safe “, – said The New York Times Dr. Anne Moscona of Columbia University, co-author of the study.

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