Nasal spray cuts COVID-19 growth

Novel nasal treatment to boost the human immune system and fight common colds and flu has proved successful in reducing COVID-19 viral growth, animal study shows.

The product, INNA-051, being developed by Australian biotech company, Ena Respiratory, reduced viral replication by up to 96 percent in a gold-standard animal study led by Public Health England’s (PHE), pre-printed on bioRxiv.

INNA-051 is based on discoveries made by Professor David Jackson and his team at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Peter Doherty Institute. Professor Jackson’s team has been working on, modifying and creating immune modulators with drug-like properties for more than 15 years.

“We were originally using it as way to boost the effect of a vaccine and we had a lot of successes,” said Professor Jackson, “But what we found is that in the absence of an antigen, given intranasally, this drug could prime the innate immune system, preparing it for a virus or bacterial challenge, enormously diminishing the chances of contracting influenza and other respiratory illnesses.”

Ena Respiratory Managing Director, Christophe Demaison says, "Outside the vaccines – this is one of the few drugs where we can show effect not just on the virus but the virus in the nose of the animals.”

While further capital is required before a COVID-19 trial can be undertaken in humans, the product has future potential to be used to prevent infection in at-risk populations, including healthcare workers and the elderly.

Article originally published on the Australian Financial Review, 28 Sept 2020.

To find out more abut Prof David Jackson’s research please visit: