Active agent in Australian-developed nasal spray highly active against 'Omicron'

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Starpharma ASX:SPL) has announced that its Australian developed VIRALEZE antiviral nasal spray achieved the maximum possible virucidal effect against the highly transmissible Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.

The company said this is consistent with previously reported data from research conducted at The Scripps Research Institute in the US.

The potent antiviral agent in VIRALEZE, SPL7013, has now been shown to be highly active against all nine SARS-CoV-2 variants tested, including more than 99.5 per cent reduction of infectious virus in the Omicron variant.

Virologist Professor Philippe Gallay of The Scripps Research Institute said SPL7013 performed even better in blocking the more infectious Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 than early variants such as Delta.

“This effect appears to be due to the mechanism of action of SPL7013 that involves interaction with multiple regions of the virus spike protein,” said Professor Gallay.

“Mutations in the highly infectious virus variants appear to have introduced even more potential binding sites for SPL7013 to interact with.

“Omicron has over 30 mutations in the spike protein that have made it extremely highly transmissible in the community. To suppress this transmission, we need to have additional tools that can block SARS-CoV-2 infection of the nose, and SPL7013 could play an important role.”

CEO Dr Jackie Fairley said, “Starpharma is pleased to see that SPL7013 is virucidal and achieved more than 99.5% reduction of infectious virus in the Omicron variant.

“SPL7013 has now demonstrated impressive performance against all five ‘Variants of Concern’ tested, including Delta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and now also Omicron. The high level of activity against Omicron is entirely consistent with previous data for SPL7013, which has shown antiviral and virucidal activity in multiple viruses. This new data further illustrates SPL7013’s breadth of activity and the potential real-world benefits of VIRALEZE.”

VIRALEZE is registered in more than 30 countries, including in Europe, India, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand.