There could be a miracle COVID-19 treatment coming out of the labs of a UC Berkeley toxicology department, as Bay Area researchers may have developed a nasal spray that prevents the spread of COVID-19.
It’s often easy to resign oneself to the fact that COVID-19 may just be around forever. About 20% of the U.S. public is still not vaccinated, and those assholes seem to have pretty much made up their minds at this point. In some developing nations, where access and affordability is more the issue, we see vaccination rates as low as 15%-30% across much of Africa and parts of Asia. And those antiviral COVID pills have not been the game-changer we’d expected.
But the term “game-changer” is being used to describe a new COVID-19 treatment coming out of the labs at UC Berkeley. NBC Bay Area reports on a COVID-killing nasal spray under development there that would be easy to produce, incredibly cheap, and has the ability to adapt to all of these infuriating variants that keep popping up.
“You can administer into the nasal passages, perhaps via nasal spray, or perhaps via an inhaler like an asthma inhaler, and it gets directed to the lung,” UC Berkeley professor Anders Naar explains to the station.
It’s a shockingly simple combination of DNA material and saltwater. The spray contains DNA that sticks to the COVID virus and prevents it from replicating. And it seems to work against all the variants, and Naar is confident it can halt future variants too.
“It binds to a sequence that’s common between all the different variants,” Naar says. “It’s going to be very difficult for the virus to mutate around it.”
This is just one doctor hyping his own development, but respected USCF COVID-era Twitter star Dr. Peter Chin-Hong thinks what he’s seeing here is legitimate. And he explains the breakthrough potential of a therapy that unlike vaccines, is super-cheap and does not require cold storage.
“You can probably keep it under [the] easiest storage conditions, and [it’s] easy to manufacture, so it may be something that might be helpful to the world,” Chin-Hong tells NBC Bay Area.
Of course, it’s still under development, and a finished product is probably a year away. Even then, a lengthy regulatory approval process looms after that. But when you’re resigned to COVID-19 maybe just be around forever, a therapy this cheap and simple could (if effective and approved) be a true light at the end of the tunnel of this global pandemic.
Related: Anyone Who Tests Positive For COVID In San Francisco and Has Risk Factors Should Seek Out Antivirals, City Says [SFist]