In a world where Covid-19 continues to pose a threat, it’s essential to stay proactive in our efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. Vaccination and mask-wearing remain crucial, but imagine having an additional line of defense capable of stopping the virus in its tracks right at the entrance to our respiratory system. This is now possible thanks to an innovative nasal spray called COVITRAP developed by a dedicated research team at Chulalongkorn University in collaboration with several other institutions.
Dr. Trairak Pisitkun, Director of the Center of Excellence in Systems Biology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, shares the story behind the inception of COVITRAP. Amid concerns during the first wave of Covid-19, the research team shifted their focus from cancer drug development to finding “highly effective antibodies against Covid-19.” This led to the creation of COVITRAP, a world-first nasal spray using antibodies to trap and inhibit the Covid-19 virus.
The researchers gathered blood samples of over 300 recovered Covid-19 patients and utilized a High-Throughput Screening process to identify B cells producing effective antibodies to combat the virus. Upon spraying COVITRAP into the nasal cavity, the antibodies coat the mucous surface, preventing the virus from infecting the body.
While COVITRAP contains Covid-fighting antibodies, it is not a replacement for vaccines. Unlike vaccines that stimulate the body to produce antibodies, COVITRAP offers a “ready-made immunity” effective for around 6 hours before being naturally expelled by the body. Therefore, this nasal spray is meant to complement vaccines and masks, adding an extra layer of protection against the virus.
COVITRAP has been extensively tested and is certified as a safe-to-use class-4 medical device by the FDA. It’s ideal for use in crowded areas, confined spaces, or situations where removing a mask is necessary. However, its use should be limited to as-needed, and it’s advised for use only in children capable of reporting any unusual reactions.
The potential for COVITRAP’s applications extends beyond the current Covid-19 pandemic. The research team can study antibodies against other respiratory pathogens to develop similar nasal sprays to combat various respiratory infections. Moreover, adapting antibodies for use in animal sprays could also play a role in preventing the spread of diseases from animals to humans.
As we must continue to coexist with Covid-19 and anticipate the emergence of future viruses, innovations like COVITRAP showcase the importance of long-term solutions in combating and preventing the spread of diseases. Already registered as a medical device, COVITRAP is available for purchase at pharmacies, ready to strengthen our defenses in the battle against Covid-19.