UK launch for Starpharma's COVID-19 nasal spray

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Australian company Starpharma (ASX:SPL) has announced that its antiviral nasal spray, Viraleze, which inactivates the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, has had its first commercial launch in the UK.

The company said the launch is being initially executed through one of the UK's largest pharmacy chains, LloydsPharmacy.

Viraleze is now available through the pharmacy chain's online portal with in-store sales through its 1,400 strong network of outlets set to begin in April. Starpharma said it will also be available through a further 14,000 independent pharmacies serviced by McKesson’s wholesale division. 

Viraleze is the first nasal spray that contains a specifically designed antiviral active that has been shown in laboratory studies to irreversibly inactivate more than 99.9 per cent of SARS-CoV-2 within one minute.

"The Viraleze active, astodrimer sodium (SPL7013), has also been shown to have potent and irreversible antiviral activity against a broad spectrum of other viruses, including influenza, RSV, SARS, MERS, and HIV," said the company, which added, "Viraleze is designed to be used alongside vaccines, masks, and physical distancing – and is particularly relevant in crowded environments where distancing is not always possible."

The UK launch also coincides with a relaxation of the country's lockdown with stay-at-home rules to allow up to six people or two households to meet outside.

Starpharma CEO, Dr Jackie Fairley, said, “We are delighted to see this product make such a timely arrival in the UK, as they take a major step in relaxing lockdown rules. We hope Viraleze will give consumers, added peace of mind as they emerge from such a long period of uncertainty and isolation. 

“Viraleze works rapidly without being absorbed into the bloodstream,” added Dr Fairley. “If you are about to walk into the supermarket, you would use it. The same is true for pubs and restaurants, public transport, elevators, workplaces, and planes."