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An experimental nasal spray against the new coronavirus is effective in animals, researchers report.
The spray completely protected ferrets from the virus, according to the new study.
The international team of scientists said the spray is nontoxic and stable and, if effective in humans as a daily treatment that would act almost like a vaccine, could provide a new way to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. However, animal research doesn't always pan out in humans.
The protective spray attaches to cells in the nose and lungs and lasts about 24 hours, study author Dr. Anne Moscona, a pediatrician and microbiologist at Columbia University, told The New York Times.
"If it works this well in humans," she said, "you could sleep in a bed with someone infected or be with your infected kids and still be safe."
The work was posted to the preprint server bioRxiv on Thursday, and has been submitted to the journal Science for peer review, the Times reported.
"Having something new that works against the coronavirus is exciting. I could imagine this being part of the arsenal," Dr. Arturo Casadevall, chair of immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told the Times. He was not involved in the study.
The work was conducted by scientists from Columbia University Medical Center in New York, Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and the University of Campania in Italy. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Columbia University Medical Center, the Times reported.
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