A NEW weekly nasal spray could prevent 96 per cent of coronavirus infections, Public Health England (PHE) has claimed.
The spray had originally been developed to fight cold and flu symptoms and experts have now claimed it could also be used to prevent Covid-19.
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The preventative treatment has been successfully trialled on ferrets and could now move to human testing within months.
Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory produces the spray – which works by preventing the virus from replicating in the respiratory tract.
It comes as cases of the virus continue to rise in the UK.
It was also revealed today that a mass roll out of a coronavirus vaccine could be delayed by two years in the UK as experts need more equipment.
Other elements the country is struggling with are refrigerated lorries to transport the cure and pallets to pack it as well as PPE for medics who are administering it, claim sources in the logistics and medical sectors.
This comes despite Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying this month that a “mass roll-out” of a vaccine could be seen in the early part of next year.
The new nasal spray could help quell the virus – stopping symptoms developing into severe cases of Covid-19 and therefore preventing deaths.
Managing director of Ena Respiratory, Dr Christophe Demaison said the firm has been “amazing” with “how effective the treatment has been”.
Dr Christophe said: “By boosting the natural immune response of the ferrets with our treatment, we’ve seen a rapid eradication of the virus.
“If humans respond in a similar way, the benefits of treatment are two-fold.
“Individuals exposed to the virus would most likely rapidly eliminate it, with the treatment ensuring that the disease does not progress beyond mild symptoms.
“This is particularly relevant to vulnerable members of the community.”
He added that the “rapidity of response” means that infected individuals will be less likely to pass the virus on to others.
“Meaning a swift halt to community transmission”, Dr Christophe added.
Professor Miles Carroll, PHE’s deputy director led the study.
The results revealed that the spray decreases the chance of infection by boosting the immune system’s response.
This was proven even when ferretts were deliberately infected with the virus.
Ena Respiratory is now seeking funding so that the spray can be developed and distributed globally.
The INNA-051 drug can be self administered once or twice a week.
The study has been published on medRxiv.