soon a nasal spray to keep the virus away?

Yasmina Kattou, edited by Romain Rouillard

While 40,000 new cases have been identified over the past seven days, INRAE ​​has developed technology to block the action of the virus from the nasal cavity. If commercialized, the project would take the form of drops or a spray and could be applied to any virus.

Covid-19 contaminations are on the rise again in France. Within a week, the number of new cases jumped 55%. If these figures have for the moment no consequence on hospital services, the health authorities still fear the appearance of a new variant with the arrival of autumn.

Scientists have therefore worked, to complement the action of vaccines, on a technology that blocks the transmission of the virus. This takes the form of a protective portal at the back of the nose, traditionally the gateway for viruses. As soon as the Covid arrives in the nasal cavities, this portal closes to prevent the virus from infecting us.

All thanks to the action of a protein that blocks the entire transmission system of the virus. “One of the ways is to use the alpha REP proteins. When the virus arrives in the nose, it will not be able to attach itself to the cells that it normally infects in the nose. In order to block the passage towards the lungs as well as the dissemination of viral particles”, explains Nicolas Meunier, one of the study leaders and member of the virology and immunology unit at INRAE

An infinitely moldable protein for other viruses

If the project were to be marketed, it would take the form of a drop or spray in the nose. This technology could also be effective on any virus. “If there is another form of pandemic, then we will take it further this time. And this technology can be put to use, since the proteins we have produced can have very different shapes against another virus”, specifies Nicolas Meunier.

Before we can hope to benefit from this technology in our pharmacies, clinical trials must now be carried out on humans after tests on hamsters.

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