Experts at the University of Melbourne and Monash University are set to test out a nasal spray treatment for COVID-19 amid a $4.2 million funding plan for a six-month clinical trial.
Researchers used heparin as the base of the nasal spray treatment given its simplicity to administer and use.
“Basic science studies revealed that intranasal heparin may be an effective way to prevent COVID-19 infection and spread. COVID-19 first infects cells in the nose, and to do that the virus must bind to Heparan Sulfate on the surface of nasal cells lining the nose,” according to one co-researcher.
The nasal spray treatment contains the active ingredient of heparin that is structurally similar to Heparan Sulfate and can inhibit the spreading of the coronavirus.
“Importantly, this nasal spray should prove effective for all COVID-19 variants because the Heparan Sulfate binding site is essential for infection, and is likely to be preserved in new variants. Heparin binds avidly to the Omicron variant currently sweeping through the country,” one researcher explained in a news release.
“It is now essential that we test the actual effectiveness of Heparin in the rigorously designed, double blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial as this will provide definitive evidence. If the treatment is proven to work in the setting of preventing progression and spread within homes, it would support using the spray to protect highly vulnerable populations such as the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems.”