Scientists from the University of Bristol and start-up Halo Therapeutics are developing antiviral treatments that could prevent the virus from entering the body.
The team recently reported a breakthrough discovery in Science magazine. They found that exposing SARS-CoV-2 to linoleic acid locks the virus’s spike protein into a closed shape. This:
A ‘pan corona’ treatment
The team’s spinout company, Halo Therapeutics, was formed to take the research to clinical trials as soon as possible.
Treatments under development include a nasal spray, soon to be followed by an inhaler. They work by preventing the virus penetrating cells in the:
At home antiviral treatment
Linoleic acid for antiviral treatments
Linoleic acid’s ability to freeze the virus’s protein spike into a non-infectious shape is behind the potential treatments.
It’s a free fatty acid that is vital for many cellular functions, including inflammation and immune system modulation.
It’s not produced by the human body, but is absorbed through food. It can be produced from plant oils, so sunflower oil could be a scalable source of the acid for a cost-effective treatment.