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Company co-founded by Israeli begins UK trial of nasal spray that kills 99.9% of coronavirus

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SaNOtize’s technology is based on nitric oxide and supported by Nobel Prize-winning research, and “will be the only recognized therapy on the market proven to prevent COVID-19 from infecting the upper respiratory system” if approved

By ILANIT CHERNICK

The first UK clinical trials of a nasal spray proven to kill 99.9% of the coronavirus started on Monday at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust, in Surrey.

Developed by SaNOtize, which was co-founded by an Israeli scientist, the company’s Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) is designed to kill the virus in the upper airways, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs and causing Covid-19.

Last year, SaNOtize CEO and Israeli native Dr Gilly Regev announced during a special summit on coronavirus hosted by Israel’s OurCrowd that the company was pursuing clinical trials for the corona-killing nasal spray in the UK. 

According to Regev, SaNOtize’s technology is based on nitric oxide and supported by Nobel Prize-winning research, and “will be the only recognized therapy on the market proven to prevent COVID-19 from infecting the upper respiratory system” if approved. 

The company, which is based in Vancouver, Canada, proved that their treatment is 99.9% effective in killing the coronavirus during independent lab tests at Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute.
As part of their research, studies done in rodents with COVID-19 infection showed over 95% reduction within the first day after infection. It is currently undergoing Phase II clinical trials throughout Canada approved by Health Canada and in other countries.

“The treatment is based on nitric oxide, a natural nanomolecule produced by the human body with proven anti-microbial properties shown to have a direct effect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19,” the company said in a statement. “The treatment can be delivered by nasal spray, throat gargle or nasal lavage.”

They added that lab tests on the SaNOtize treatment at Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute found that it inactivated more than 99.9% of the virus within two minutes.

According to the team, rodent studies performed at Colorado State University showed an average of over 95% reduction in SARS-CoV-2 viral load testing “on the day following infection with half the rodents having no detectable virus at all.” 

“This was following inoculation with the virus and two treatments of SaNOtize’s nasal spray,” they said.

According to Nobel Prize winner and SaNOtize board member Prof Ferid Murad, “nitric oxide is an incredibly versatile molecule that regulates almost everything in our body.

Murad who first discovered the importance of nitric oxide within the human body and its healing properties said that “when used therapeutically, it has a well-documented safety profile and is demonstrated to be effective against a wide variety of viruses, bacteria and fungi.”  

“I’m excited to be working with the SaNOtize team and believe that they have a safe technology that could be effective in treating infections, including Covid-19,” he said.

Dr Chris Miller, chief science officer and co-founder of SaNOtize, made it clear that the nasal spray provides a barrier. It contains nitric oxide which prevents and treats early infection by destroying the virus and impeding viral replication within the cells in the nose. In addition, nitric oxide has been shown to block the ACE-2 receptor essential for the virus to infect our cells. That is what makes our product unique and enables it to stand alone from any other nasal approach,” said 

“It’s a safe technology that could be effective in treating infections, including Covid-19,” Miller pointed out. 

He explained that most people think that “you get the virus, and it gets into your lungs, and you die, but it’s a progression.” 

First, he said, “you get exposed to it, and the virus tries to attach to the cells in your nose, and it takes a while to incubate, and multiply in nasal cells for a few days and then the virus will shed into your lungs.”

What the SaNOtize team envisions “is cleansing the upper respiratory area at various points in the day.” 

“In the morning when you get up, where the virus has shed and started collecting in the back of your upper airway, first spray of the day, and then you go out into the day, and you can’t always control social distancing as we end lockdown, and so we have nasal sprays throughout the day,” Miller said. “At the end of the day, you come home and you basically rinse your nose and your nasopharynx, so that will clean your nose, your sinuses, and the back of your throat where these viruses initially reside.”

For Rob Wilson, a former British government minister who represents SaNOtize in the UK and EU and is overseeing the trial said that if this simple treatment is approved following the trials and testing both in the UK, US and Canada, “[it] will assist us in resuming something approaching normal social life, work and travel with some confidence that even if we inhale the virus, we can both protect against it and destroy it by applying the SaNOtize solution on a regular basis.”

Wilson stressed that the SaNOtize treatment “should be thought of as an effective treatment for the upper airways, similar to when people use hand sanitizers to clean their hands on the outside of the body.” 

“When people are potentially exposed, they will spray to cleanse their upper airways and kill the virus, before it can cause serious illness,” he added.

Scientists believe the coronavirus is transmitted via airborne droplets to the mucous membranes in the nose, where it is replicated during a three-day incubation period, damaging the nasal mucosa cells, and is then carried in nasal secretions to the lower respiratory tract, leading to the danger of fatal viral pneumonia.

According to research published in Nature, this theory confirms that the nose is the primary infection area especially in the early period of the infection. 

According to a joint statement released by SaNOtize and OurCrowd, hospital trials with nitric oxide are underway in the US and Europe with seriously ill coronavirus patients inhaling the gas to kill the virus in their lungs and prevent progression to severe infection. 

“SaNOtize’s solution can be applied away from a hospital setting,” both said. “It is easy to use, inexpensive and safe.”

“The company’s strategy is to use the Nitric Oxide spray as a multi-stage defense against infection and to provide an effective treatment for mild and moderate cases with the goal of preventing severe inflammatory response and infection of the lungs,” they concluded.

OurCrowd is an investor in SaNOtize.

*Featured Image by Josep Suria/Shutterstock

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