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Carrageenan-containing over-the-counter nasal and oral sprays inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection of airway epithelial cultures

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  • Desiree Schutz, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Carina Conzelmann, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Giorgio Fois, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Rudiger Groß, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Tatjana Weil, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Lukas Wettstein, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Steffen Stenger, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Alexander Zelikin
  • Thomas K. Hoffmann, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Manfred Frick, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Janis A. Muller, Ulm University
  • ,
  • Jan Munch, Ulm University

Pharmaceutical interventions are urgently needed to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and transmission. As SARS-CoV-2 infects and spreads via the nasopharyngeal airways, we analyzed the antiviral effect of selected nasal and oral sprays on virus infection in vitro. Two nose sprays showed virucidal activity but were cytotoxic precluding further analysis in cell culture. One nasal and one mouth spray suppressed SARS-CoV-2 infection of TMPRSS2-expressing Vero E6 cells and primary differentiated human airway epithelial cultures. The antiviral activity in both sprays could be attributed to polyanionic i- and κ-carrageenans. Thus, application of carrageenan-containing nasal and mouth sprays may reduce the risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection and may limit viral spread, warranting further clinical evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Pages (from-to)L750-L756
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

    Research areas

  • Carrageenan, Sulfated polysaccharides, Virucidal, Virus inhibition, Virus transmission

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