‘First-of-its-kind’ nasal spray that prevents COVID-19 could be available this year

ITHACA, N.Y. – A nasal spray that blocks COVID-19 infection and treats people who are already sick could be available within the next six months, according to researchers at Cornell University. Their study discovered a small molecule that people can spray into their noses which prevents COVID from infecting human cells.

In experiments on lab cells and in mice, researchers found that the molecule N-0385 can both protect against infection in healthy individuals and eases symptoms in patients using the spray within 12 hours of exposure to COVID. For humans, the team believes this could soon become a new coronavirus treatment that only requires a few daily doses.

“There are very few, if any, small molecule antivirals that have been discovered that work prophylactically to prevent infection,” explains Hector Aguilar-Carreno, associate professor of virology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, in a university release. “A TMPRSS2 Inhibitor ACTS as a pan-SARS-CoV-2 prophylactic and therapeutic.”

“This is the first of its kind,” Aguilar-Carreno adds. “One advantage is that it works early in the infection, even after someone has already acquired the virus.”

Researchers add that they tested the nasal spray against the original COVID strain and the Delta variant. Although they didn’t examine its effectiveness against the more recent Omicron variant, the Cornell team is optimistic the results will remain the same.

Ready for use in 6 months?

The researchers developed this molecule in collaboration with a team from Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec. A California-based company, EBVIA Therapeutics, Inc., is now raising funds so scientists can start human trials and eventually begin drug development and mass production of the spray.

Study authors say if all of that comes together and the human trials are successful, the nasal spray could apply for and receive FDA emergency-use approval within six months.

“The N-0385 therapy is simpler and less expensive to mass produce than other types of COVID-19 treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies,” Aguilar-Carreno says.

How does the molecule work?

Coronaviruses use the now-infamous spike protein to grab and infect a patient’s cells. To do that, the virus binds to a receptor on the surface of a healthy cell. During their study, researchers targeted a specific enzyme, TMPRSS2, which plays a key role in allowing the spike to fuse with the cell membrane.

The team identified a number of small molecules, including N-0385, which might be able to disable TMPRSS2’s cell-infecting abilities. Scientists examined each molecule’s ability to knock out TMPRSS2, first in lab experiments using human respiratory cells and later in genetically engineered mice.

Researchers altered the mice to carry human receptors on their cells, so the team could see if N-0385 could prevent infection before, during, and after exposure to COVID-19. All of those tests revealed that the intranasally introduced molecule works at stopping weight loss in mice — a key sign of infection in these animals. For mice exposed to the virus before taking the nasal spray, it kept them from dying during the experiment.

The study is published in the journal Nature.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. You cannot be more mistaken! This is by far NOT the first nasal spray formulated to help prevent COVID-19 infections.

    The COFIXRX Nasal Spray (www.cofixrx.com) is in the market for a while and it does exactly that! I use it myself, and it is safe!!!

    Instead of relying on “new molecules” that no one can predict its long-term side effects, the COFIXRX Nasal Spray is based on simple but proven ingredients such as Pavodine Iodine, which is scientifically known to kill 99.99% of viruses on contact, including the SARS-COV-2. The product also has Vitamine D3 in its formula, and it is sold as an OTC product. I believe it FDA approved because it says in its box it is manufactured on an FDA Approved Facility.

    Basically, it does not need a prescription, and it is very affordable. It simply works, and is based on proven science, not on “sci-fi inventions”!

    1. How much, if any, serious study has been done on how long the nasal spray is effective?

  2. There’s already the propolis nasal sprays which contain flavonoids that are ACE2 inhibitors.

  3. I sure hope this spray works better than the vaccines that the Bidden Administration have been pushing down our throats. At the behest of Fauci and the Bidden health establishment, we are firing first responders, Marine riflemen, Army soldiers and Navy SEALs who have refused to take an experiment vaccine which has proven to be ineffective.

    1. Just goes to show me that Joe Biden is most definitely the biggest moron to have ever been appointed to the WH. His handling of the Afghan exit and now Putin’s illegal invasion of a sovereign nation proves w/o a doubt that Cornpop beat his brains in. What a total joke that sad old man is as a president (small p; no respect whatsoever). Let’s go Brandon and FJB

      1. Trump would have been Putin’s cheerleader while asking the public to drink Lysol. Stop smoking whatever you are smoking and get back to real life!

      2. Uh, you do realize the Afghan withdrawal was started by Trump, right? Biden simply honored Trump’s orders. So what you’re actually saying is that Trump messed up the Afghan withdrawal. And we can’t just jump all over the A-hole attacking a sovereign nation, because then Putin’s buddies will attack us and it’s WW3. Tho they be few, they be idiots w/ BFGs, too. Gotta look deeper for cause and effect. Skimming the surface isn’t sufficient.

  4. Why would we trust anything the gov’t says to do regarding CV19? They disallow what works, Ivermectin, and pump patients full of what kills, Remdesivir. Case closed. Turn off the news and realize you are on your own.

  5. Hey Branch COVIDians…I say forget boosters, sprays and pills and wait for the 24 hour IV drip bag

  6. I wonder what surprise ingredients are in there along with a “new molecule”? Graphene, parasites, self-assembling nano circuits???!

  7. Look up the research done out of Germany on licorice root and dandelion. I’m unvaxed due to medical reasons. I drin dandelion tea daily with licorice root, I also take a tincture of both on mon-wed-fri mornings. I’ve had an exposure thru my wife, two from co-workers and one on a long distance bus ride. Tested negative every time, actually I haven’t had a cold or a sniffle in two years.

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