New Study Reveals Nasal Spray Is Effective in Preventing Covid-19 Infection in Ferrets

Could a daily spritz of nasal spray be the next defensive tool, alongside vaccines, in the public health arsenal against Covid-19? An international team of scientists made promising steps to answer that question, according to a small study published last Thursday. Scientists from Columbia University Medical Center, Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, and Cornell University developed a nasal spray treatment that was effective in completely blocking the coronavirus in the nose and lungs of a small group of ferrets. The implications for a daily nasal spray, if it’s possible to scale production, would be significant, reports the New York Times. Nasal sprays could offer an inexpensive, shelf-stable option that could be a boon to rural areas in poor countries that lack refrigeration.

Here’s what the researchers found:

In the study, the spray was given to six ferrets, which were then divided into pairs and placed in three cages. Into each cage also went two ferrets that had been given a placebo spray and one ferret that had been deliberately infected with SARS-CoV-2 a day or two earlier.

Ferrets are used by scientists studying flu, SARS and other respiratory diseases because they can catch viruses through the nose much as humans do, although they also infect each other by contact with feces or by scratching and biting.

After 24 hours together, none of the sprayed ferrets caught the disease; all the placebo-group ferrets did.

“Virus replication was completely blocked,” the authors wrote.

The research, which was submitted for peer review in Science, was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Columbia University Medical Center. Read more about the research below:



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Gloria Oh

Senior Editor, Medium. Founding Editor of Index. Previously, The Atlantic.