A new nasal spray that could prevent someone from contracting the coronavirus is being researched in Mississippi, and experts say it could potentially succeed where a future vaccine would fall short.
Researchers at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy and Medicine are in the first stage of clinical trials testing the effects of a new nasal spray. The spray is designed to block and neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Co-lead researcher Dr. Ritesh Tandon says he is hopeful for a vaccine early next year, but he says it isn't for every person. He says the experimental nasal spray could fill in those gaps. "So there could be several issues with vaccine coverage as well, as well as the efficacy, so it won't hurt to have something else that can prevent or at least reduce the severity of symptoms from COVID-19."
Experts say two sprays of the solution should be enough to block the virus temporarily, but research is still being conducted to study its effectiveness and side effects. However, Dr. Tandon says early lab tests have shown good results. While the spray might not be enough to completely stop the virus on its own, he says it could be used to lower transmission rates. "But this would be something that everyone can use, carry around with them, and it may be able to help a little bit with prevention in social settings where it's not possible to use a mask, such as restaurants where you can not just keep the mask on when you're eating."
University of Mississippi researchers are collaborating with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.
Dr. Tandon says the testing stages could last six to eight months, and they are currently searching for study participants.