MAR 29, 2022 8:00 AM PDT

Nasal Spray Shows Promise Against All Variants of SARS-CoV-2

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

A compound delivered via a nasal spray can prevent and treat various SARS-CoV-2 variants in mice. The corresponding study was published in Nature.

COVID-19 vaccines are becoming less effective against SARS-CoV-2 as it continues to mutate. Research is thus underway to develop host-directed therapeutics to limit viral resistance and treat those who contract the virus. 

Recently, researchers at the University of Sherbrooke designed a compound to tackle COVID-19 via nasal spray. Known as N-0385, it targets an enzyme present in nasal cells, where the virus tends to enter and begin infecting human cells. 

"The compound is unique because it blocks entry at the cell surface, without having to get into the cell, which prevents it from causing any detectable cell damage. As well, it's highly potent, in that it needs only a tiny amount to work very effectively," said co-author Dr. Andrea Olmstead, Research Associate in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of British Columbia. 

In previous work, the researchers tested the compound on four SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Delta, in human lung cells and organoids. They found that it both inhibits infection and does not cause toxicity. 

Researchers at Cornell University then tested the compound in genetically-engineered mice infected with SARS-CoV-2. The ten mice who received daily doses of the compound for four days survived COVID-19 infection, compared to just 20% of untreated mice. 

The researchers then conducted further tests focusing on the Delta variant. In doing so ,they found that N-0385 was not only able to help prevent COVID-19, but also treat the virus 12 hours after infection, as noted by differing levels of the virus in the lungs of treated and untreated mice. 

The researchers say that the compound’s enzyme target has undergone no mutations among the COVID-19 variants, meaning it may remain useful in targeting future strains. Already in unpublished work, they have found that the compound can also block Omnicron variant infections in human lung cells. 

The researchers now hope to test their findings in clinical trials. However, as N-0385 is just an inhibitor- stopping the virus from entering cells- the researchers say it should be used with other drugs already on the market that can reduce replication. 

"The big picture is, there are multiple steps in the life cycle of a virus," said Francois Jean Ph.D., senior author of the paper and Associate Professor in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of British Columbia. 

"The first step is entering a cell to pass on genetic material, then it goes on to replicate. So you would use both drugs: N-0385 could block most of the virus' entry, making less work for the replicator drug," he added. 

 

Sources: NatureScience Daily

About the Author
University College London
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUN 14, 2022
Cancer
Maintaining Sample Temperature: Q&A From a Corning Scientist
JUN 14, 2022
Maintaining Sample Temperature: Q&A From a Corning Scientist
Generally speaking, bad things can happen when a cell sample temperature gets too hot or too cold. Temperature instabili ...
JUL 04, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Study calls for Improved Cannabis Product Labeling Practices
JUL 04, 2022
Study calls for Improved Cannabis Product Labeling Practices
Large scale study of cannabis product labeling highlights a critical need for more informative and accurate product desc ...
JUL 05, 2022
Immunology
A New Type of Universal Flu Vaccine
JUL 05, 2022
A New Type of Universal Flu Vaccine
Researchers have created a new 'universal' flu vaccine, which is directed against type A influenza viruses. It w ...
AUG 02, 2022
Neuroscience
Brain Derived Exosomes; a non-invasive look inside the brain
AUG 02, 2022
Brain Derived Exosomes; a non-invasive look inside the brain
Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles about the size of influenza and corona viruses and have been making news for s ...
JUL 13, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Nipah Virus: Moderna Invests in a Vaccine for the Virus that Fauci Calls a 'Pandemic Threat'
JUL 13, 2022
Nipah Virus: Moderna Invests in a Vaccine for the Virus that Fauci Calls a 'Pandemic Threat'
In Malaysia in the fall of 1998, a mystery ailment swept through the local pig-farming community, eventually leading to ...
AUG 16, 2022
Immunology
Two Studies Describe Powerful Antibodies That Neutralize SARS-CoV-2
AUG 16, 2022
Two Studies Describe Powerful Antibodies That Neutralize SARS-CoV-2
SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, has mutated many times into new variants, some that we don't hear about, while others ...
Loading Comments...