As per a new update, an antiviral oral spray that has been sold over-the-counter since 2012 will undergo a clinical trial in order to test whether it can help front-line healthcare workers from contracting the coronavirus. The clinical trial will reportedly be held by the University Hospitals in Ohio and will be done soon.
Marketed commercially under the brand name Halo, the product previously shown promise in helping prevent influenza and other types of respiratory illnesses in lab studies as well as a small clinical trial back in 2015-16 made by University Hospitals.
“We have every reason to believe it will be effective,” Dr. Robert A. Salata, chairman of the department of medicine at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and principal investigator for the study, said.
In fact, the product itself has generated so much interest from the medical community in northeastern Ohio that Cleveland Foundation, one of the state’s largest community charity organizations, has decided to fund $1 million to the upcoming clinical trials.
Furthermore, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will also participate in the research since this is where Salata is currently a professor and where he has formerly served as chief of infectious diseases.
However, while the trial itself hasn’t started yet, the product has already been suspended because it is no longer available to the public for the time being. Its developer, Cleveland-based ARMS Pharmaceutical, decided to pull it from stores temporarily while the trial still isn’t finished. This is because people might actually start using it to help fight COVID-19 before proper testing conducted by experts has begun.
“People should not use Halo to protect themselves against COVID-19. I cannot emphasize that strongly enough. In an abundance of caution, therefore, we are temporarily suspending our sale of Halo while we figure out the most responsible next steps forward,” Afif Ghannoum, president of ARMS Pharmaceutical, said.
Retailing for around $12.99 and $14.99, Halo is marketed as an oral antiseptic that helps “protect against airborne germs,” although it can’t claim that it can stop infections unless ARMS Pharmaceutical actually receives FDA approval.