University of California San Francisco researchers believe a nasal spray could be one of the keys to dramatically slowing down the spread of the coronavirus.
"Through some feats of biological engineering, we generated a very potent molecule that bands very tightly," UCSF graduate student Michael Schoof said. "So it will do the job that a traditional antibody would do."
COVID-19 uses so-called "spike proteins" to infect cells in lungs, which then create more virus cells that then infect more lung cells, according to a virus explainer video from UCSF. View more here.
Schoof led a team of researchers who found that certain nanobodies, which in this case came from camels and llamas, can bind to those coronavirus proteins and prevent them from latching on to lung cells and multiplying.
The team's research led to the engineering of a more potent version of the nanobodies, which resulted in the creation of synthetic antibodies known as "AeroNabs."
The goal is to make AeroNabs an inexpensive, over-the-counter medication with the potential to be available in months. But Schoof said we are still dealing with science and it is important to not set a hard timeline for its availability.