The health officials repeatedly urge the public to wear a mask in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus. While some people stick to these guidelines, others find it difficult to wear a mask at all times. Considering the necessity of a preventive measure, scientists created a nasal spray for coronavirus that is more protective than a mask.
The preprint of this research published on biorxiv as it has not been peer-reviewed yet.
The scientists claimed that this nasal spray is more effective and prevents the coronavirus infection. The scientists from the University of California created this nasal spray for coronavirus. They called this spray ‘AeroNabs’ which is safe for inhalation. This nasal spray can work as a temporary prevention measure before the coronavirus vaccine becomes available.
The spray or AeroNabs mainly consists of nanobodies. Nanobodies are immune proteins similar to antibodies. These nanobodies exist in the blood of various animals including camels, alpacas, and llamas. However, the nanobodies used in this spray are synthetic. These nanobodies are specifically designed to target the novel coronavirus.
The scientist performed tests in labs which showed that proteins smaller than antibodies prevent the entry of viruses into human cells. The clinical trials are not done yet but lab experiments showed positive results. The scientists said that the nanobodies are quarter the size of an antibody. Due to their small size, they can produce these in a large number within a short time.
Dr. Peter Walter is a biophysics and biochemistry professor at UCSF. He is also a co-inventor of the nasal spray for coronavirus. He said that AeroNabs is better than wearing any mask. It can also prevent the coronavirus spread effectively before scientists develop a vaccine against the virus.
Dr. Walter also said that AeroNab is the answer for those people who will be unable to access the coronavirus vaccine. He said that such people can benefit from this nasal spray permanently.
This is not the first time that scientists used nanobodies against a virus. Previously, researchers employed the same immune proteins to prevent the SARS virus responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
Nanobodies have a close resemblance to antibodies. The immune system produces antibodies in response to a foreign pathogen. These antibodies neutralize the harmful effect of the pathogen.
Nanobodies have a mechanism of action similar to antibodies produced in humans. However, there are some differences between the two immune proteins. Nanobodies are quite small as compared to antibodies. This makes it easier to produce them on a massive scale. Also, it becomes easier to modify and manipulate them to target a particular pathogen.
Even though the lab trials were successful for this nasal spray, the scientists have to prove its efficacy in clinical trials. The scientists will conduct trials on humans to test if it prevents the coronavirus infection.
The scientists said that people can easily use this therapy through nasal passages. They can use it as a nasal spray to transfer the nanobodies into the nasal cavity and the lungs. The scientists claim that this will help prevent Covid-19 and a better alternate to wearing masks in public.