Health Virus researchers bet on the nose

Virus researchers bet on the nose

Australian scientists who have been looking for ways to combat COVID-19 have sniffed out a new treatment that will help combat the common cold as well.

They’ve found that a drug delivered as a nasal spray is also effective against rhinovirus — the most common respiratory virus and the main cause of the common cold.

Researchers at The University of Newcastle found the Australian-developed drug, known as INNA-X, is shown to be effective in a pre-clinical infection model and in human airway cells.

INNA-X works by stimulating the innate immune system in the airways, the first line of defence against the invasion of respiratory viruses into the body.

This so-called immune priming makes it much more difficult for viruses such as rhinoviruses to take hold, cause serious symptoms and spread.

Associate Professor Nathan Bartlett, who led the study, said INNA-X showed great promise as a new way to protect people from diseases caused by common respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus.

“Consistent with what we have reported for other respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), INNA-X treatment prior to infection reduced the level of virus in the respiratory tract,” Associate Professor Bartlett said.

“We have also examined the effect of INNA-X in airway cells from patients with asthma which we know have a less effective anti-viral immune response and found that INNA-X treatment was effective providing a rationale for the use of INNA-X in at-risk populations,” he said.

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