Nasal spray trial to prevent COVID-19 transmission

Gary Anderson, Dept Biochemistry & Pharmacology, is part of a research team using a blood thinning drug to block virus transmission and infection.

The group of Melbourne based researchers have created a nasal spray using heparin – a widely used blood thinner.

The Victorian government has allocated $4.2 million for the nasal spray treatment to undergo clinical trials in 340 Victorian households over the next 6 months.

Professor Gary Anderson, Director of the Lung Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, describes the science behind the treatment.

"When [COVID] first gets into the nose it binds to a molecule called heparan and if it mutates that binding site it can't bind. Heparin is so close in structure to heparan that it binds on and paralyses the virus, so it stops it infecting and also stops it spreading to others," he says.

The spray would be easy to use – just two puffs each nostril, three times a day. It is complementary to the COVID vaccine, wouldn’t need refrigeration and can be stored and distributed widely and effectively.

The article was originally published in ABC News [online], 22 December 2021.

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