An experimental new nasal spray could prevent people from getting infected with Covid-19 for up to eight hours, according to a study.
The New York Times reported that the promising treatment has shown it can block infection from the virus in lab studies with mice, according to researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland.
Study author Kalle Saksela told Gizmodo that "this technology is cheap and highly manufacturable, and the inhibitor works equally well against all variants."
She added: "It works also against the now-extinct SARS virus, so it might well also serve as an emergency measure against possible new coronaviruses."
The spray, developed for immunocompromised and other high-risk people, is made of an antibody-like synthetic protein that recognises and binds to the spike protein of the coronavirus.
According to the study, this will temporarily stop the virus in its tracks.
Researchers found that a small dose of it prevented cells from being infected with all variants of the coronavirus, including Omicron.
They also found that mice given treatment were much less likely to have trouble in their upper respiratory tract and lungs after being exposed to the Beta variant of COVID-19.
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But the nasal spray hasn't yet been tested on humans, lab studies are not yet peer-reviewed and more research is needed, the scientists said.
Saksela also warned that the treatment isn't meant to replace vaccines or other drugs.
She said: "It's prophylactic use is meant to protect from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
"However it is not a vaccine, nor meant to be an alternative for vaccines, but rather to complement vaccination for providing additional protection."
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The effectiveness for nasal spray treatment on coronavirus cases could be the key to defeating Covid after it was found that Fifi the Llama held powerful nanobodies.
British scientists have now isolated the chemicals from the immune system of Fifi, with nanobodies providing a "number of advantages" says Professor Ray Owens.
He said the nanobodies from Fifi "are among the most effective SARS-CoV-2 neutralising agents we have ever tested."
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