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Covid Spain: Regulators BAN £51 Taffix nasal spray that studies show may cut infection risk

Spanish regulators BAN £51 nasal spray that studies show may cut the risk of catching Covid ‘because there is no proof it is safe’

  • Taffix’s nasal spray product is sold in packs of four for as much as £51 on Amazon
  • But the Spanish medicines agency has withdrawn the product from shelves
  • They say there is ‘not enough clinical evidence’ the spray was safe and effective 

The nasal spray, Taffix, coats the inside of the nose to stop the infection in its tracks and creates a more acidic environment for viruses like Covid-19 to survive

Spanish drug regulators have banned the sale of a readily-available nasal spray touted as a potential coronavirus treatment. 

The Taffix spray, sold in a pack of four for £51, was credited with preventing dozens of Jews from catching Covid at a religious festival in Israel last year. 

But despite its promise, Spain’s medical regulator, the Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS), has banned its sale on the basis there was ‘not enough clinical evidence’ it was effective.

The UK’s medicines regulator said it was also reviewing the nasal spray. 

Experts say unproven Covid remedies may give people false confidence to be riskier in their behaviour, such as visiting a vulnerable relative. 

Taffix’s main chemical ingredient hypromellose is often used as an antiseptic before surgery to stop patients from getting infections.

The spray — which claims to block 97 per cent of all airborne viruses — has a vital ‘CE mark’, meaning it has been deemed safe to use in Europe. 

But data on its effectiveness on Covid is still uncertain. 

Jewish worshippers pray in an outdoor synagogue amid the pandemic ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, on September 17, 2020 in Bney Brak, Israel

Jewish worshippers pray in an outdoor synagogue amid the pandemic ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, on September 17, 2020 in Bney Brak, Israel

A spokesman for the UK regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – said: ‘We have taken appropriate steps in response to enquiries raised regarding Taffix, and will continue with our review of the situation.

‘Patient safety remains front and centre in all our actions. The MHRA publicly communicates patient safety messages when necessary.’ 

A study by Nasus, the Israeli biomedical firm which makes the spray, and scientists from the University of Haifa and the University of Virginia, followed 243 people who attended a Jewish new year festival last September in the city of Bney Brak, four miles (6.3km) east of Tel Aviv.

None of the 81 Jews who used the spray properly got infected, compared to 16 in the other group who did.  

The spray — which provides enough for 200 pumps in each bottle — is said to coat the inside of the nose in an acidic powder that makes it difficult for viral particles to penetrate. 

Despite not being subject to the same rigour as a controlled scientific study, it provides one of the largest real-world tests of the sprays – which some scientists believe could play an important role in fighting the pandemic.

However, Nasus Pharma warned the nasal spray is not a substitution for face masks or social isolation and should be used as an ‘addition’.

Other lab-based studies have shown it can stop the virus from replicating in petri dishes, but there has been little real-world research on its efficacy.

It is not known if the firm is planning on conducting rigorous scientific trials to prove whether their nasal spray works. 

Taffix’s spray has no known side effects, according to an FAQ on its website – but may cause a ‘tingling or burning sensation in the nose’.

The spray prevents infection by capturing the virus in the nose and coating it. This means the virus cannot escape and renders the it inactive and harmless.

The researchers believe using the spray four times a day will be enough for general protection.

However, it is safe enough to be applied every 20 minutes if required, for example, if a user is in a high-risk environment.

Other scientists are also developing nasal sprays to fight off Covid, including a team at the University of Birmingham.

Their spray – which has not been named – has been in development since April last year and could hit the shelves as early as this summer.

It is made from ingredients that are already approved for medical use in the UK, meaning it is safe for humans and does not require further clearance. 

CAN A NASAL SPRAY REALLY PROTECT AGAINST COVID? 

Before the Covid vaccines came on stream there was hope among some scientists that nasal sprays could play an important role in fighting the pandemic.

The nasal sprays which claim to be a Covid prophylaxis – given to prevent the disease – use well established antiseptics, which raises the prospect of them being able to defend against the virus.

The main ingredient in Taffix’s spray, for example, is hypromellose, often given as eye drops before eye surgery to prevent infection. 

Others use Betadine, used as a skin antiseptic before operations. 

The nasal sprays are said to work by capturing Covid in the nose and coating it in an acidic powder.

This means the virus cannot escape and renders the it inactive and harmless.

Studies have shown they can do this in lab studies but there have been a lack of rigorous human trials. 

The closest to a real-world scientific study was conducted by Nasus – the Israeli biomedical firm which makes the Taffix spray – and scientists from the University of Haifa and the University of Virginia last year.

The researchers followed 243 people who attended a Jewish new year festival last September in the city of Bney Brak, four miles (6.3km) east of Tel Aviv.

None of the 81 Jews who used the spray properly got infected, compared to 16 in the other group who did.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk