Could a Nasal Spray Prevent Coronavirus Transmission?
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A nasal antiviral created by researchers at Columbia University blocked transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in ferrets, suggesting the nasal spray also may prevent infection in people exposed to the new coronavirus.

The compound in the spray—a lipopeptide is designed to prevent the new coronavirus from entering host cells.

The antiviral lipopeptide is inexpensive to produce, has a long shelf life, and does not require refrigeration. These features make it stand out from other antiviral approaches under development, including monoclonal antibodies.

A preprint of the study appeared in bioRxiv described a first generation of the compound and its effect in a 3D model of the human lung. In this human lung model, the compound was able to extinguish an initial infection, prevent spread of the virus within the lung, and was not at all toxic to the airway cells.

Ferrets a model for respiratory diseases: In this study, 100% of the untreated ferrets were infected by their virus-shedding cagemates, approximating a setting like sharing a bed or close living conditions for people.

Lipopeptides prevent viruses from infecting cells: The lipopeptides work by preventing a virus from fusing with its host’s cell membrane, a necessary step that enveloped viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, use to infect cells. To fuse, the new coronavirus unfolds its spike protein before contracting into a compact bundle that drives the fusion.

The compound recognizes the SARS-CoV-2 spike, wedges itself into the unfolded region, and prevents the spike protein from adopting the compact shape necessary for fusion.

The scientists hope to rapidly advance the preventative approach to human trials with the goal of containing transmission during this pandemic.

Source: https://www.cuimc.columbia.edu/news/could-nasal-spray-prevent-coronavirus-transmission
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