The Israeli co-founder of a nasal spray that kills 99.9% of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, has told Jewish News that she believes the spray will be a game changer in the fight against Covid-19.
Dr Gilly Regev, who co-founded SaNOtize Research and Development Corp. based in Vancouver, Canada explained via telephone that “If you use it daily, I really believe you won’t be affected by Covid-19. We have shown in the clinical trials that the people who used it did not get infected.”
The first UK clinical trials for The SaNOtize Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) begins this week.
The treatment, developed by SaNOtize Research and Development Corp. based in Vancouver, Canada, co-founded by Israeli Gilly Regev, proved 99.9% effective in killing the coronavirus in independent lab tests at Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute.
NONS is designed to kill the virus in the upper airways, preventing it from incubating and spreading to the lungs.
Additional studies in rodents with COVID-19 infection showed over 95% reduction within the first day after infection. It is currently undergoing Phase II clinical trials throughout Canada approved by Health Canada, and in other countries.
“We have shown in animals that we can reduce the virus in the nose so I think we have all the science and the data to support this in humans,” says Regev.
Though this is the first trial they have done for early treatment, she is confident that it will prove its efficacy on humans.
Lab tests on the SaNOtize treatment at Utah State University’s Antiviral Research Institute confirmed that the company’s Nitric Oxide Releasing Solution inactivated more than 99.9% of SARs-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, within two minutes.
The SaNOtize treatment is based on nitric oxide, a natural nanomolecule produced by the human body with proven anti-microbial properties shown to have a direct effect on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The treatment can be delivered by nasal spray, throat gargle or nasal lavage.
NONS which Regev describes as “a super simple nasal spray” is unique in that it not only creates a preventative barrier but also kills the virus too.
“We call it ‘the hand sanitiser for the nose’ because the idea is everyone will carry it in their pocket like they carry a hand sanitizer today and so prevent people getting infected so we can get out of this!” she explains.
Another reason Regev is so “confident of its efficacy” is because pre-Covid, it was being used to treat other diseases such as acne, athlete’s foot and even the flu.
“I have always used the spray before and after getting on the plane to prevent getting the flu.” she adds.
Born and raised in Israel, Dr Gilly Regev completed a PhD in Biochemistry at the Hebrew University before moving to Canada 16 years ago.
While in Canada, she met her business partner, Dr Chris Miller, who introduced her to “the crazy world of nitric oxide.” Not only was this an area of science Regev found “fascinating” but it also meant that she “could do some good in the world and help people.”
For Regev, that is the ultimate goal. She hopes that after the trial, the spray will be available to purchase over the counter by anyone “as there is no risk”.
“It will be pretty inexpensive”, Regev adds, “because our goal is that everyone can use it and so eventually, we can get it to some of the third world countries and be able to help with the spread of the disease there.”
She says they are already doing work in countries like Malaysia, “to help those that cannot afford vaccines or some of the more expensive treatment.”
Regev notes that Israel is already looking to approve the spray as a medical device, where “we already have a lot of interest,” she adds.
She says that so far, none of the 200 people that have trialled the spray, have shown any side effects.
“It’s amazing how much a small molecule can do!”
Rob Wilson, a former British government minister who represents SaNOtize in the UK and EU, is overseeing the trial.
“If, as we expect, the current Phase II results in Canada confirm the very encouraging results received from the Antiviral Research Institute and ongoing studies at Colorado State University SaNOtize will be seeking emergency approval in Canada to proceed directly to Phase IV introduction of the product to the market as part of the continuing global fight against this deadly pandemic,” said Wilson.
“Any intervention for treating coronavirus – the virus responsible for Covid-19 – is to be welcomed. The fact that a relatively easy and simple nasal spray could be an effective treatment is welcome news and offers a significant advance in our therapeutic armoury against this devastating disease. Ashford and St Peters Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is proud to be at the forefront of trialling this intervention,” said Pankaj Sharma MD PhD FRCP, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Research at Royal Holloway, University of London.