[An] experimental drug—delivered via nasal spray—could help the immune system fend off all sorts of respiratory infections. The treatment is now set to be tested out in a clinical trial of people in a matter of weeks.
The treatment is called INNA-X and is being developed by Ena Respiratory, a biotech company in Australia. The therapy is intended to buff up the immune system through activating a class of proteins called Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLRs play a key role in the innate immune system, which is the first line of defense against foreign pathogens.
“We have discovered that INNA-X primes the innate immune system in the airways so that when a virus enters your body (nose or throat) and initiates infection, your immune system is able to respond much more quickly and control the virus in the crucial first days after exposure to the virus,” [said virologist] Nathan Bartlett.
Though the development of INNA-X began before the pandemic, the treatment should ideally offer broad protection against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes covid-19, as well as the many viruses that cause the common cold, such as rhinoviruses. In two recent animal studies published last month, that seems to be the case.