Researchers have identified a molecule that is particularly successful in preventing sickness caused by all known forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus when put nasally. The molecule could be a valuable tool in preparing for future pandemics because it is designed to block both virus transmission and dissemination.
A compound known as TriSb92, discovered by researchers at the University of Helsinki, has been shown in animal experiments to provide significant protection against coronavirus infection. The chemical recognizes a region in the coronavirus spike protein that is shared by all current forms of the virus and suppresses its action.
The TriSb92 molecule is particularly successful in preventing infection when taken nasally, and cell culture experiments show that it also includes the most recent variations, including XBB, BF7, and BQ.1.1, reveals Postdoctoral Researcher from Professor Kalle Saksela’s research group, Anna R. Makela.
Animal experiments have also shown that, unlike face masks, the molecule can prevent infection even after a few hours of treatment when sprayed into the nose.
According to the researchers, the molecule can be used as a nasal spray because it can remain fully active at room temperature for at least 18 months. The research was released in the journal Nature Communications.
While the worst of the coronavirus has passed, nasally delivered protection can be of critical assistance in avoiding the virus’s spread in the future. According to Makela, the most recent versions efficiently bypass the immunological protection afforded by both vaccines and the COVID-19 disease, and current vaccines are ineffective in preventing transmission.
Furthermore, the nasal spray can protect those from dangerous diseases who do not obtain enough immunity from immunisations, such as immunocompromised persons and the elderly. The molecules may also be effective against future animal-borne close relatives of SARS-CoV-2, which are likely to create new coronavirus pandemics, according to the researchers.
Because the area in the coronavirus’s spike protein impacted by the TriSb92 molecule has remained largely unaltered in all viral variants that have surfaced thus far, Makela believes it will be effective against future SARS-CoV-2 variants as well. She adds that the simply and cheaply generated TriSb92 could be a critical first line of defence in containing such a new pandemic, awaiting the development, production, and distribution of vaccines.
The sherpa body technology utilised by the researchers is also applicable to the protection of many other viral infections, particularly influenza and other respiratory viruses, as per researchers.
According to Makela, the entire strategy is based on a technical solution created in Finland that was not originally intended for the creation of an antiviral medication. It opens the door to many additional innovative projects based on the exact detection of sick cells or pathogens in patients. The molecule must then be examined in clinical studies before it may be made economically available.