New Delhi: Using Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) six times a day for seven days can accelerate the removal of SARS-CoV-2 from your nasal cavity, preventing the transmission of the virus while also protecting high-risk patients from severe disease, according to data from clinical trials published Tuesday in the journal The Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia.
The study was conducted by researchers affiliated with the makers of the nasal spray (FabiSpray), Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Canadian pharmaceutical firm SaNOtize. The spray was launched in India in February after the companies secured approvals from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to manufacture and market the product.
Nitric oxide acts as a physical and chemical barrier against the virus in the mucous lining of the nasal cavity, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs, said a statement by Glenmark.
Earlier, a 2005 study by Swedish researchers published in the Journal of Virology had found that the colourless, odourless gas was able to stop replication of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus.
The required approvals for FabiSpray, granted under the government’s accelerated approval process, were sought on the basis of preliminary results of phase-3 clinical trials involving 306 adult Covid-19 patients.
Conducted across 20 clinical sites in India between August 2021 and January 2022, the trials showed that the nasal spray was safe for use among non-hospitalised adult patients. The results of the phase-3 clinical trials have now been peer-reviewed and published in the new study.
For the trials, 153 participants were prescribed the nitric oxide nasal spray within three days of the onset of Covid-19 symptoms. The remaining 50 per cent were administered a placebo.
The study showed that patients who used the nasal spray tested negative (RT-PCR) four days earlier on average than those in the placebo group. The study also showed that reduction of viral load was faster among those who received the spray, with researchers noting a 94 per cent reduction of viral load in 24 hours, and 99 per cent in 48 hours.
Moreover, the study showed that participants who used the nasal spray were less likely to progress to severe Covid than those who were given the placebo.
Researchers also found that the efficacy of the nasal spray was similar in the case of unvaccinated Covid-19 patients.
“The findings from this study can be used as supporting evidence for the use of NONS for patients with recent infections to reduce their risk of illness progression,” the authors wrote in the study.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)