A trial of a popular cold remedy containing seaweed which could potentially combat coronavirus is under way at a university.
A research study involving 480 frontline NHS workers in the city is examining the efficacy of the £5.99 Boots Dual Defence in preventing Covid illness and reducing the severity of its symptoms.
The spray contains Carragelose, a patented version of iota-carrageenan, a form of seaweed, and has already been proven to shorten the duration and severity of cold and flu-like symptoms.
The Swansea University study will examine whether it could also reduce the risk of being infected with the virus which causes Covid-19, Wales Online reports.
Dr Zita Jessop, principal investigator for the clinical trial, said: “After seeing the effects of this pandemic on colleagues caring for patients with Covid-19, we wanted to find a way for research to help protect frontline NHS staff.
“Previous studies highlighted the effectiveness of iota-carrageenan-based nasal sprays against coronaviruses, indicating promise against SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes Covid-19.
“If the results of this randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial are positive as we expect, this has the potential to add an extra prevention strategy in the fight against Covid-19.”
Carragelose is generated from consumable red seaweeds occurring naturally throughout the world.
It acts as a barrier in the nose by forming a gel to trap cold and flu virus particles as they enter the body, therefore reducing the likelihood of infection or cutting the amount of virus entering the body and therefore reducing the severity of symptoms.
The human clinical trial follows a successful laboratory study, and is being carried out by Swansea Trials Unit, Swansea University and the joint clinical research facility at Swansea Bay University Health Board.
These results will be further validated in a new clinical trial, Ice-Covid, which will investigate whether dual defence can either prevent Covid-19 infection or reduce severity of symptoms in humans compared with a placebo.
The study is being led by professor Ron Eccles, cold and flu expert, and former director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University and chief investigators at Swansea University, professor Iain Whitaker, surgical specialty lead for health and care research Wales and professor Hayley Hutchings, co-director of the Swansea Trials Unit.
Richard Evans, executive medical director at Swansea Bay University Health Board said: “Although the prospect of effective vaccines is now on the horizon, it’s still vitally important that we explore all opportunities to investigate new treatments for Covid-19 and we’re pleased to be playing a part in that global effort.”
It is anticipated that results of Ice-Covid will be published in March, 2021.