HUMAN safety trials have begun for a nasal spray that could help prevent COVID-19, based on research out of the NSW Hunter Valley.
University of Newcastle virologist, Associate Professor Nathan Bartlett has played a key role in the development of the drug "INNA-051" - which has been shown to be effective both before and after early exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
He said it was incredibly rewarding to see his team's research underpin an additional treatment that could fill some of the gaps that were currently hampering efforts to control the global pandemic.
"This nasal spray will add another layer of protection for a lot of people who would be vulnerable otherwise," Associate Professor Bartlett said. "Long term, if new viruses emerge, new strains of influenza - or another variant of COVID that is less protected by the vaccine - this may be available."
The nasal spray could provide "almost immediate" protection against Sars-COV-2 by activating natural immunity in the nose and throat - the primary entry point of respiratory viruses.
"So far there has been no indication of any issues with it - it seems to be well-tolerated, and all signs to data are very promising," he said.
Associate Professor Bartlett has spent the past six years developing this drug for viruses such as rhinovirus. Then COVID-19 hit.
"It is such a wonderful thing to have this finally going into people after working on it for so many years," he said. "It has been a long road. It is very nice to get to this point."
The study is seeking healthy men and women between the ages of 18 to 55 to participate. To find out more, call 1800 727 874 or register here.