Researchers develop ‘biological mask’ against COVID infections

A research group at the Helsinki University is in the process of developing an intranasal sprayed inhibitor which should create a biological mask. [Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff]

A research group at Helsinki University is in the process of developing an intranasal sprayed inhibitor that should create a biological mask and block omicron and other variants of COVID-19.

The results have been promising. In an article published in Research Square, the research team describes how a new molecule known as TriSb92 potently neutralises COVID variants, including Delta and Omicron.

Tests completed with mice have shown that a dose of a few micrograms as early as eight hours before the challenge of the virus efficiently neutralises the variants and protects from COVID infection and severe acute respiratory syndrome known as SARS.

The researchers are adamant that the inhibitor has the potential to be a game-changer since its effects are immediate after dosage. A protection of around eight hours would enable safer travelling and access to work and hobbies and reduce the need for restrictive measures. Furthermore, it has not been ruled out that the molecule could also work post-infection by preventing the virus from multiplying itself.

Interviewed by Iltalehti, Anna Mäkelä, a researcher at Helsinki University’s Department of Virology, admits the nasal spray developed over the last two years has a way to go before entering the market. Tests with humans are yet to begin. If and when the product hits the pharmacies, its price should be reasonable, thanks to low production costs.

The research team has emphasised that the spray is not a miracle cure and would not replace vaccinations, but rather supplement jabs.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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