Help fight COVID-19: CDC must issue guidance on nasal sprays

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Doctors, nurses and other public health professionals are petitioning the Centers for Disease Control to issue Guidance calling on: Americans to use nasal sprays to combat the COVID-19 pandemic; and doctors to use them in treating COVID-19 patients.  Help them, lend your voice to the effort.

Why: We face a raging pandemic. And, now there is a new, worse strain. While we all hope for a safe and effective vaccine, at best it will be months before enough Americans are vaccinated to stop the pandemic.  We have to use every tool at our disposal to help protect ourselves, our families, our loved ones, our communities and our nation.  

Why nasal sprays: Scientific studies now show nasal sprays can help protect you from getting sick and reduce the risk of transmission:

  • There are scores of studies showing nasal sprays wash pathogens from your nose--just like hand washing only better for respiratory infections like COVID-19.

See, e.g., Casale, Manual, et al., Could nasal irrigation and oral rinse reduce the risk for COVID-19 infection?, Int J. Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2020 Jan-Dec; 34: 2058738420941757, available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7436790/

  • There is new data that some nasal sprays are anti-viral (they block COVID-19 infections in the nose) and virucidal (they actually kill and/or deactivate the virus)--meaning they protect you from getting sick. 

Cannon, Mark, et al., In Vitro Analysis of the Anti-viral Potential of nasal spray constituents against SARS-CoV-2, available at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.02.408575v3.full (this study uses both in vitro analysis and electron scanning imagery to determine the mode of action whereby these compounds counter SARS-CoV-2).

Bansal, Shruti, et al, Iota-Carrageenan and Xylitol Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in Cell Culture, bioRxiv (Aug. 21, 2020), available at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.19.225854v1

Ferrer, Gustavo, et al, A Nasal Spray Solution of Grapefruit Seed Extract plus Xylitol Displays Virucidal Activity Against SARS-Cov-2 In Vitro, BioRxiv (Nov. 25, 2020), available at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.23.394114v1.full

Ferrer, Gustavo, et al., In Vitro Analysis of the Anti-viral Potential of Nasal Spray Constituents Xylitol and Grapefruit Extract plus against SARS-CoV-2, forthcoming in Journal Virus Research.

  • There is a new study out of Columbia Univ. showing nasal sprays prevented COVID-19 infections in animals (which is how we initially test medical drugs and devices) exposed to the disease.

Proud, Pamela, et al, Prophylactic Intranasal Administration of a TLR2 Agonist Reduces Upper Respiratory Tract Viral Shedding in a SARS-CoV-2 Challenge Ferret Model, EBioMedicine doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.103153, available at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.25.309914v1.full

  • There is a new study that one such spray, Xlear, helped lessen the severity of COVID-19 and shortened the time of sickness for people who were already sick and had co-morbidities.

Go, Camilla, et al, (November 03, 2020) Potential Role of Xylitol Plus Grapefruit Seed Extract Nasal Spray Solution in COVID-19: Case Series. Cureus 12(11): e11315. doi:10.7759/cureus.11315, available at https://www.cureus.com/articles/43909-potential-role-of-xylitol-plus-grapefruit-seed-extract-nasal-spray-solution-in-covid-19-case-series

  • Nasal sprays like these have been sold in the US for over two decades and been used by millions of people around the world--without any adverse reports.  
  • Nasal sprays like these are available at your local store.  They are cheap, safe, noninvasive, easy to use.

Nasal sprays should be a layer in protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.  You should still wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, avoid crowds and follow public health guidelines, but nose sprays add one more layer of protection to keep you and your family safe.

If more Americans used nasal sprays, we could reduce the transmission of the virus, save lives and get back to normalcy faster.  

If more doctors treated COVID-19 patients with nasal sprays, the data indicates we could save lots more lives.

CDC should issue commonsense guidance calling on Americans to use nasal sprays and doctors to add them to how they treat COVID-19 patients.