The COVID-19 pandemic was declared almost 18 months ago. In that time the scientific community has rallied to produce a variety of tests and several effective vaccines along with a number of other innovations. Here we take a look at the 5 most recent advances in the fight against the virus.
Light-activated technology by Ondine Biomedical
Studies have shown that UV-C light is capable of killing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; now Canadian medical device company Ondine Biomedical has developed a new type of light technology that can be used in the human body.
Ondine's Steriwave™ photodisinfection therapy uses light-activated agents to destroy pathogens in the nose and upper airway, and trials show it can rapidly destroy the RNA genome of SARS-CoV-2. Ondine says it can also kill other viruses, bacteria, and fungi quickly and painlessly.
To administer it, a trained healthcare professional applies a laser light-activated agent to each nostril, followed by directing a laser light to the area for under five minutes. The specific wavelength of laser light used disrupts and quickly destroys pathogenic microorganisms.
Steriwave™ has already been in use in Canadian hospitals for over ten years to prevent hospital-acquired infections. Later this month Ondine's scientists plan to present the findings of their research into its effectiveness against COVID-19 at the European Society of Photobiology.
The 15-minute immune status test by Luas Diagnostics
UK-based Luas Diagnostics is launching a 15-minute COVID-19 test in the UK and Ireland, which will help determine whether someone has immunity to COVID-19 after an infection or vaccination.
The test, which is manufactured by Chembio Diagnostics Systems in New York, uses a fingerstick of blood to detect receptor binding antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The results are read and stored in a portable reader, enabling them to be provided in a lab or other setting.
The total time to get a result is 15 minutes, and the antibody response is represented numerically. The test also has the ability to detect both IgM and IgG antibodies, which means it can show whether the patient has immunity from a vaccine or an infection, and whether it is a current or past infection.
The nasal spray by Salvacion
Salvacion USA Inc have developed a nasal spray that could block COVID-19 activity in the nasal passage, the prime entry point for the coronavirus.
The spray, called COVIXYL-V, contains an active ingredient called ethyl lauroyl arginate hydrochloride (ELAH), which helps create a barrier that prevents the virus from attaching itself to the surface inside the nose. Clinical trials have shown that the spray can inactivate 99.99% of viruses.
The product has been sponsored by the National Cancer Institute in the US, and Salvacion has applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) request to gain approval from the FDA.
The anti-viral mouthwash by Curaprox
A recent study has shown that a mouthwash can reduce the viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in saliva.
The Perio Plus+ mouthwash, produced by Swiss oral care company Curaprox, contains a mixture of bioflavonoids created by Curaprox called CITROX. Bioflavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antibacterial properties.
The strong antiviral properties of CITROX led scientists to research whether Perio Plus+ mouthwash could help in the COVID-19 response. In a double-blind study of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic COVID-19 patients, they found that a single rinse of mouthwash decreased the risk of SARS-CoV-2 contamination through saliva by 71%.
Researchers are now investigating the frequency and and long-term impact of mouthwash use for reducing the viral load.
The AI drug detection platform by Louisiana State University
The researchers have been studying a combination of therapies called SM-19, and the AI platform has predicted it has up to 97% efficacy. This rate was then confirmed by pre-clinical human and animal trials.
The SM-19 treatment has been designed to be effective against several COVID-19 variants, decreasing viral load and reducing the duration of symptoms. The approach is to treat adult patients at the first sign of infection to avoid hospitalisation.
The AI platform, called DeepDrug, was a semi-finalist in the IBM Watson AI X-Prize, a $5 million award for using AI to tackle global challenges. AI technology can benefit pharmaceutical research by drastically cutting the time it takes to discover new drugs.
Studies are currently underway in Europe and are expected to continue throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Brazil.
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