Some badly needed good news on the pandemic front. Scientists are testing a nasal spray that could impede coronavirus infection. It seems to work on ferrets (who don't wear masks or wash their hands).
Now scientists have released the results of initial work on a drug-like molecule they say interacts with cells in the nasal cavity to activate the body’s innate immune system.
While immune responses triggered by vaccines involve the generation of antibodies and T-cells geared towards particular pathogens, the innate immune system responds to a wide range of microbes.
“It kicks in like a defence shield, which is broad-spectrum and non-specific,” said Roberto Solari, a visiting professor within the infection in airway disease research group at Imperial College London and an adviser to the Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory, which is developing the drug-like molecule for use in a nasal spray.
Solari added that by triggering the innate immune system this substance, called INNA-051, activates a number of processes including the release of signalling proteins called cytokines, which stimulate mechanisms that stop the virus replicating inside cells.
Who knows? If it works on ferrets it should work on the ferret's closest human relative, college kids.
Oh lovely. Immune systems are really delicate. Messing with them is a big risk.
We're embarking on an era in which we'll have to accept new ideas about risk and risk management, Toby. Dangerous times carry that consequence.
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