Many hopes for a return to a semi-normal life after COVID-19 revolve around vaccines, but those injections have limits — they’re harder to deploy in low-income and rural areas where there’s no guarantee of easy distribution. Science may offer a more accessible alternative, though. Columbia University researchers have a nasal spray that has successfully prevented COVID-19 infections in tests with ferrets as well as a 3D model of human lungs.
The lipopeptide (that is, a lipid and peptide combination) prevents the coronavirus from fusing with a target cell’s membrane by blocking a key protein from adopting a necessary shape. It should work immediately and last for at least 24 hours. It’s also affordable, lasts a long time, and doesn’t need refrigeration.