Testing by the Scripps Research Institute has found Starpharma's (ASX:SPL) Viraleze anti-COVID nasal spray is active against the highly infectious UK variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The company said the testing found Viraleze reduces infectivity of the virus by >98 per cent and that there was no loss of potency compared to an earlier US strain of the virus.
Starpharma said it is also testing the Japan/Brazil and South African variants of COVI-19 with the results expected in the coming weeks. Testing of the Indian variant will also be undertaken when virus availability allows, it said.
The UK variant was recently reported to be responsible for over 98% of the positive COVID infections in England and linked to multiple outbreaks worldwide.
Internationally recognised virology researcher, Professor Philippe Gallay of the Scripps Research Institute in the US, said, “We are impressed with the antiviral activity of SPL7013, and that it retains potent activity against the SARS-CoV-2 UK variant B.1.1.7.
“It is particularly exciting to see a product with this level of antiviral activity against a variant of concern that is much more transmissible than earlier SARS-CoV-2 strains. The latest data are consistent with our previous data showing antiviral and virucidal effects of SPL7013 against the US strain of this highly infectious virus, and suggest a mechanism of action that is not affected by mutations in the virus spike proteins.”
Starpharma CEO Dr Jackie Fairley said the company was pleased to confirm the potency of Viraleze against the UK variant.
“SPL7013 (the active ingredient in Viraleze) has consistently shown high levels of antiviral activity, not only against multiple COVID-19 strains but also against a broad spectrum of other respiratory viruses including influenza,” said Dr Fairley.
“These recent findings further support why Viraleze is an ideal and complementary product to use alongside vaccines and other protective measures.”
Dr Fairley added, “The UK variant has been reported to be 43% to 90% more transmissible than preceding strains, and has been responsible for more than 98% of positive SARS-CoV-2 infections in England since early 2021. The spread of this variant also led to a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the UK.”