A nasal spray to eliminate the coronavirus? Why we mustn’t claim victory too quickly

NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

Could nasal sprays become the new barrier measure against covid-19?

CORONAVIRUS – Could a spray in each nostril be the new miracle weapon against the coronavirus? This is the promise of the company Pharma and Beauty (P&B) based in the Bouches-du-Rhône. In early March, the company will market an anti-Covid nasal spray that would eliminate, in 30 seconds, 99% of the virus present in the nostrils.

Wouldn’t P & B’s ad be a little too good? We interviewed doctors and researchers to try to answer. Without denying the interest of nasal sprays as additional tools against the coronavirus, they are however quite cautious about the final effectiveness of the product.

How would the nasal spray work?

According to the website of the Pharma and Beauty group, the active principle of the spray is taken from ionized water that it contains up to 40%. Ionized water would have a virucidal effect and would be produced by electrolysis, that is to say by chemical filtration of a classic mineral water carried out using an electric current.

The objective of this filtration would be to charge the water obtained with negative ions. The negative ions contained in the spray, explains P&B, would act against viruses by degrading their viral envelope.

The P&B company affirms that the effectiveness of the spray has been validated by the IHU of Marseille and Professor Bernard La Scola, member of the team of Professor Didier Raoult. Other tests have also been carried out in Japan on various viruses, including H1N1. These studies do not appear to be available online and the company Pharma and Beauty did not respond to our requests for details.

Doctors are careful

The results announced by P&B are greeted with some skepticism by doctors and scientists. Firstly, because there is no consensus on the antimicrobial virtues of ionized water within the research community in France.

“I don’t know what’s in it, or what scientific argument it’s based on,” said the Huffpost Doctor Philippe Lavalle, research director at Inserm, who is also working on his own nasal spray project. The scientist does not notice any obvious differences from a therapeutic point of view between ionized water and sea water used in more conventional sprays.

Contacted by the Huffpost, Jean-Michel Klein, vice-president of the national ENT union, declares that he is “a little skeptical” in front of “miraculous advances, a little excessive” announced by the laboratories.

Dr Klein also deplores the ambiguity for “commercial” purposes in the communication of pharmaceutical companies. “There is a misuse of language which implies that the spray would be a treatment when it is only a product in class 1, that is to say an over-the-counter product”, warns Jean -Michel Klein. We play on the “anguish” of the public vis-à-vis the Covid, he regrets.

An additional barrier gesture

However, the trade unionist recognizes merit in sprays and other physiological serums which are “a barrier gesture like any other, a little extra”. Nasal washes have always been recommended by the ENT union in the context of viral outbreaks, explains Dr. Klein.

The fact remains that nasal sprays are a promising avenue for the fight against Covid-19. Columbia University in New York said it is working on a spray containing a molecule capable of blocking the coronavirus. In France, the CNRS teams of doctor Philippe Karoyan are developing a spray that would work as a decoy against the Covid.

And at Inserm, explains doctor Philippe Lavalle, a protective nasal spray is also being developed. If it were to become a treatment, it will have to go through a long process of clinical studies and approvals from the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) explains the researcher. While waiting for it to eventually become a miracle cure, it could well become a real barrier gesture.

See also on The HuffPost: The 4 main types of Covid-19 vaccines explained in 2 minutes


Source: Le Huffington Post by www.huffingtonpost.fr.

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