A nasal spray to treat adult COVID-19 patients has been launched in India after Mumbai-based developers Glenmark Pharmaceuticals received marketing clearances from the Drugs Controller General of India as part of an accelerated approval process.
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Glenmark claims the nitric oxide spray – to be sold as FabiSpray – is meant to be squirted over nasal mucosa where it will act as a physical and chemical barrier against the virus. It will “kill the COVID-19 virus in the upper airways”, the company said in its statement.
The company has yet to publish trial data in a peer-reviewed journal, but the product has been received a ‘CE’ mark from the European Union – the equivalent of marketing authorisation in case of a medical device and is sold in Bahrain and Israel as ‘envoid’.
Trial data shows “reduction of viral load of 94 per cent in 24 hours and 99 per cent in 48 hours”, the company said, stressing the product was “safe and well-tolerated” by patients.
Nasal sprays and orally-administered drugs are seen as the ‘second generation’ of COVID-19 vaccines that could be made available over the next few weeks and months, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said in November.
At present, India’s Covid vaccine basket consists primarily of Covishield (developed by AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute) and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. As of Wednesday morning over 170.9 crore doses have been administered nationwide.