Melbourne innovation may prove useful tool in fight against coronavirus

21 February 2020, Written by Matt Ogg

Melbourne innovation may prove useful tool in fight against coronavirus

There are strict rules about releasing pharmaceuticals to market, but Firebrick Pharma has proposed allowing its nasal spray to be used by healthcare workers exposted to infected patients. 

A nasal spray developed by Melbourne-based Firebrick Pharma has shown positive early signs as a possible disinfectant to help stave off the spread coronavirus Covid-19.

Firebrick's Nasodine spray is not yet approved for sale in Australia, but human clinical trials have already established its safety and clinical effect in treating the common cold.

The spray was designed to eradicate viruses in the nasal passages to interrupt the respiratory infection cycle, with an aim to reduce the severity of cold symptoms and potentially prevent one pathway to infection.

Now Nasodine has been put to the test on today's most pressing health threat, with a "highly-regarded Australian laboratory" researching its effectiveness against Covid-19.

The tests showed that in vitro, a 60-second exposure to Nasodine reduced the amount of detectable virus by 99.97 per cent and eliminated the infectivity of any remaining virus.

A rigorous scientific process is required before any pharmaceutical product can have any claims attached to it, so Firebrick emphasises the data is only from lab tests and the product is not intended as a treatment for infections.

However, the company has put forward the idea of allowing Nasodine to be used by healthcare workers who are exposed to infected people, as well as infected people for use against 'viral shedding' whereby a virus is released from the nose.

"Nasodine is unique in that it kills all respiratory viruses, and because of its non-selective mode of action, the viruses are unable to develop resistance to it," says Firebrick's chief medical officer, Dr Peter Friedland.

"Importantly, it does not harm the delicate nasal cells while doing so. I consider it a real Australian breakthrough."

The latest coronavirus data have prompted Firebrick Pharma to speak out publicly about the product's potential beyond the common cold.

"We hope that Nasodine could be part of the solution," says Firebrick chairman and co-founder Dr Peter Molloy (pictured right), who is also CEO of Race Oncology (ASX: RAC). "We have no immediate commercial interest here we simply want to help with the current emergency and make it available if requested to do so."

Head of business development Dr Linda Friedland (pictured left) says the company is doing what it can to offer assistance.

"This is a global emergency and we are doing everything we can to expedite the availability of Nasodine to support front line health workers," she says.

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Business News Australia

 
Author: Matt Ogg

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