India gets first nasal spray for COVID-19 treatment
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has launched a nasal spray in India for the treatment of COVID-19 in adult patients. It has partnered with the Canadian pharmaceutical company SaNOtize Research & Development Corp. for the launch of the product, called FabiSpray. This comes after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted manufacturing and marketing clearance to Glenmark as part of an accelerated approval procedure.
Why does this story matter?
Experts say nasal sprays and oral drugs against COVID-19 could be a gamechanger in the global fight against the pandemic. They are relatively easier to store, can be transported without refrigeration, and also remove injury risks that are associated with needle-based vaccines. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization, had earlier described such treatments as a "second generation" of coronavirus vaccines.
How does the nasal spray work?
FabiSpray, a Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS), is designed to "kill the coronavirus in the upper airways." It acts as a physical and chemical barrier against the virus, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs, according to a company statement. It will be useful in the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who have a high risk of disease progression.
99% viral load reduction in 48 hours
Data from the phase-three trial conducted in India demonstrated a reduction of viral load by 94% in 24 hours and 99% in double of that time, the company claimed. It added the product was "safe and well-tolerated" among the volunteers involved in the trial. However, the data has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Europe, Israel have already cleared it
The nasal spray has already received a CE mark from the European Union, which is an equivalent of marketing authorization. Besides, Bahrain and Israel have also cleared its sale. Robert Crockart of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals described it as "another safe and effective antiviral treatment." "We are confident it will offer patients a much-needed and timely therapy option," Crockart, the company's Chief Commercial Officer, said.
COVID-19 situation in India
On Wednesday, India added 71,365 new coronavirus infections, marking a surge of 5.5% from Tuesday's case count. The country's COVID-19 death toll has climbed to 5,05,279 with over 1,200 more related fatalities registered through Tuesday. Meanwhile, India has administered more than 170 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses so far. More than 75% of India's adult population has been fully vaccinated, as per government data.Share this timeline