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Volunteers wanted for nasal spray trial developed by Melbourne scientists that prevents Covid


Nasal spray developed by Australian scientists STOPS cancer patients catching Covid with a bigger trial to find if it can be the next weapon to fight the pandemic

  • Trial for Melbourne-developed nasal spray for cancer patients will be expanded
  • None of the 175 patients who have taken part so far have contracted Covid-19
  • Scientists are seeking more volunteers to take part in Melbourne and Sydney
  • Anyone with a past or current cancer diagnosis is eligible to take part in the trial










A trial for a nasal spray that has prevented cancer patients getting Covid-19 could be a new weapon to fight the pandemic.

Some 175 patients have tested the drug by taking daily doses of a nasal spray containing cancer drug interferon developed by scientists at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. 

None of the participants in the C-SMART trial have contracted Covid so far, despite several waves of the virus plunging Melbourne into six lockdowns.

Scientists are seeking more volunteers to take part in the free trial, which will be expanded to Austin and St Vincent’s hospitals in Melbourne, along with Westmead Hospital in western Sydney.

A trial for an Australian developed nasal spray that has prevented cancer patients from getting Covid-19 will be expanded across Melbourne and into Sydney (stock image)

Anyone with a past or current cancer diagnosis is eligible to take part in the four month trial. 

Scientists hope the nasal spray will be an extra protection for vulnerable patients until better preventions are developed.

‘We have not had any patient on the trial actually report back to us that they have developed Covid infection,’ National Centre for Infections in Cancer director Professor Monica Slavin told the Herald Sun.

‘But we have had about 10 per cent of people on the trial sending in a swab due to some sort of viral illness.

‘We know that there are groups of patients, because of the immune system being suppressed, that don’t make a good response to the vaccination.’

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the trial, which began a year ago.

None of the 175 cancer patients who have taken a daily dose of the nasal spray have contracted Covid-19 (pictured, health workers at a Melbourne testing clinic)

None of the 175 cancer patients who have taken a daily dose of the nasal spray have contracted Covid-19 (pictured, health workers at a Melbourne testing clinic)

Scientists were forced to press pause on the trial for five months earlier this year when access to chemicals and sending samples of the drug for testing were hampered by international border closures.

The expanded trial will determine whether the drug can also prevent other respiratory viral illnesses.

Studies have shown cancer patients make up 10 per cent of severe Covid-19 cases, and about 20 per cent of those who die from it, according to the trial’s website.

They are also more likely to rapidly develop severe infections and be admitted to ICU compared to cases without cancer. 

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