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Drugstore cold remedy a possible defense against COVID-19

A medical school in the United Kingdom announced yesterday that they will be undergoing clinical trials to test an over the counter nasal spray as a potential prophylaxis for COVID-19.

The research site, Swansea University Medical School, working with biopharmaceutical company Marinomed Biotech AG, has initiated clinical trials to test a Boots sold nasal spray for its COVID prevention and treatment possibilities. The spray, marketed in the UK as Boots Dual defense and retailing for £5.99, contains Carragelose, a patented ingredient derived from a type of seaweed.

The clinical testing is being carried out on 480 NHS front line workers using a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical protocol. The study aims to test the effectiveness of the spray as a prophylaxis to prevent contracting COVID-19. The spray works by creating a gel-like barrier in the nose that traps cold and flu viruses before they can enter the airways. The study involves a double blind procedure, wherein both the treatment group and the placebo group will administer a dose of either the Carragelose or a saline solution into each nostril, and the throat, three times a day for eight weeks.

Previous research has shown the spray to be effective in preventing other strains of coronavirus, and according to a 2014 study by Koenighofer, M, the use of iota-carrageenan (the generic form of Carragelose) has been successful in reducing the duration of cold and flu infections.

The principal investigator of the medical trials, Dr. Eva Prieschl-Grassauer, said in a Marinomed press release that the clinical trials are being undertaken with the hopes of eventually releasing an inhalation product that acts as an extra prevention strategy in the fight against COVID-19.

The initiation of the medical trials comes after a successful laboratory study, and is part of a broader study examining the potential for dual-treatment of Covid-19 (called Ice-Covid) with results expected in March 2021.

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