Ena Respiratory claimed on Monday that a nasal spray it has been developing helps reduce the growth of the coronavirus. The Australian biotech company said a recent animal study showed that the nasal spray could lower the levels of the virus that causes COVID-19 by up to 96 percent.

Ena Respiratory developed the nasal spray in collaboration with Public Health England to help the human immune system fight common cold and flu. Dubbed as the INNA-051, the nasal spray was recently tested on animals to see if it could also aid in treating COVID-19.

Led by British government agency Public Health England, the study found that the nasal spray helped lower the levels of the coronavirus in ferrets, suggesting that it could be used as treatment for COVID-19. The company also claimed that the INNA-051 could be used complementary to vaccines.

Dr. Christophe Demaison of Ena Respiratory said they were amazed with how effective the treatment had been. “By boosting the natural immune response of the ferrets with our treatment, we’ve seen a rapid eradication of the virus,” he said.

Ena Respiratory said the human trials of the nasal spray would begin in less than four months. The trials, which are still subject to successful toxicity studies and regulatory approval, will test whether the nasal spray will work the same way in humans.

“If humans respond in a similar way, the benefits of treatment are two-fold,” said Dr. Demaison. “Individuals exposed to the virus would most likely rapidly eliminate it, with the treatment ensuring that the disease does not progress beyond mild symptoms,” he added.

Dr. Demaison also said the rapidity of the response means infected individuals are unlikely to pass on the coronavirus, meaning a rapid halt to community transmission. He said the result of the human trials will be particularly relevant to the vulnerable members of the community.

The Australian firm has raised A$11.7 million for the development of the nasal spray. Venture capital firm Brandon Capital Ltd., the Australian federal government, pension funds and biotech giant CSL Ltd invested in the development of INNA-051.

Coronavirus Protection Woman in protective gears to prevent coronavirus infection. Photo by: Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay