New preventive nasal spray blocks COVID-19 in ferrets, small study finds

An inexpensive nasal spray that attaches to cells in the nose and lungs proved effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in ferrets, a study published Nov. 5 in the preprint server BioRxiv found.  

The study included a total of 15 ferrets. Researchers administered the spray to six ferrets and split them up across three cages in groups of two. One ferret infected with SARS-CoV-2 was placed in each cage, along with two others that were given a placebo spray. None of the six ferrets treated with the nasal spray became infected after being co-housed with the contagious ferret after 24 hours, while the placebo ferrets did contract the virus. 

At the request of The New York Times, several health experts evaluated the study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, and said the nasal spray could be a promising virus prevention method if it yields the same defense in humans. 

"If this works well in humans, you could sleep in a bed with someone infected or be with your infected kids and still be safe," Anne Moscona, MD, co-author of the study, pediatrician and microbiologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told The New York Times

Researchers said the nasal spray they designed is made with a nontoxic lipopeptide that blocks membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, is inexpensive to produce and has a long shelf life. 

More articles on public health:
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Asymptomatic patient was actively infectious for 70+ days, study finds
22 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Nov. 6


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