In a new study, researchers developed a nasal formulation that blocks the spread of COVID-19 among ferrets.
They are hopeful the formulation could have the same effect on humans, and potentially generate therapeutic treatments as well.
The research was conducted by a team at Cornell University and elsewhere.
Ferrets are one of the best animal models for COVID-19, because they take the virus quite readily, and undergo both direct contact and airborne transmission.
Ferrets, similar to humans, also generate antibodies against the virus, yet display limited clinical signs.
In the study, the team tested the formulation on ferrets, which turns out to be an ideal model for replicating the way SARS-CoV-2 spreads among and proliferates inside, humans.
The researchers envision their formulation as a prophylactic agent that people would apply to their nasal passages – where COVID-19 most readily enters the body – two to six hours or more before potential exposure.
The lipopeptide is robust and stable at room temperature, eliminating the need for refrigeration or cold-chain storage.
The researchers are currently studying the spray’s effectiveness as a therapeutic treatment for subjects who are already infected, as well as its ability to combat other strains and viruses.
They say this is a simple nasal formulation that can prevent the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in humans.
The ultimate goal is to create a nasal spray drug product that can be made widely available, one that can be kept ready in a purse or pocket.
A key feature of the new nasal spray is that it’s a plug-and-play platform technology that can be adapted and applied to other viruses or mutations.
One author of the study is Chris Alabi, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
The study is published in Science.
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