The Estonian-invented anti-COVID-19 nasal spray has finally been approved to be put on sale, the product is expected to hit the shelves of the Benu pharmacy chain in Estonia on Monday, 3 May.
The spray was developed in cooperation between Estonian companies, the University of Tartu and the Estonian University of Life Sciences. It’s a nasal and throat spray based on the antibodies against the novel coronavirus and the developers say it may help prevent infection.
According to Mart Ustav, a professor emeritus of the University of Tartu Institute of Technology, who led the development of the new technology, the product is based on a preparation produced from the colostrum of hyperimmunised cows.
“Colostrum has the best natural ability to provide the new-born with primary protective immunity through antibodies produced by the mother. We developed a technology for purifying antibodies in colostrum and the result is a preparation that can be used to make a nasal and throat spray that may inhibit coronavirus infection,” Ustav said in a statement.
He emphasised that it was not a medicine, but an antiviral preparation that acts on the surface of the mucous membranes in the nasopharynx, where it can specifically inactivate the novel coronavirus.
Spray before meeting others – and wear a mask
According to Estonian newspaper Eesti Ekspress, the product doesn’t have many restrictions. It can be used by people seven years old or older; it’s unsuitable for people who are allergic to milk proteins.
“This is not witchcraft, this is chemistry,” Ustav told the newspaper, adding that people should spray it before meeting others – before going to work, using public transit or going to the store.
“And definitely with a mask,” he noted, adding that the spray is not a substitute for vaccination, it’s just an additional measure to avoid getting infected with the novel coronavirus.
The developers of the spray have said it is effective not only against the Wuhan strain but also against the new, more easily transmitted UK, South Africa and Brazil variants.
The consortium behind the technology includes Icosagen Group, Chemi-Pharm, the Institute of Pharmacy, the Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine and the Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu, the Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences of the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Eerika Farm and Teadus ja Tegu.
Cover: Nasal and throat spray SARS-CoV-2 BioBlock. Photo by manufacturer.