Medicines agency: 'Anti-coronavirus' nasal spray is only general remedy

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Alar Irs of the State Agency of Medicines (Raviamet). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

A nasal spray made in Estonia which claims to provide immunity to coronavirus is not an anti-coronavirus medicine as such, the State Agency of Medicines (Raviamet) says.

At the same time, it may have its general uses, and will not be banned, though it would require more trialing to categorize it conclusively.

The spray appeared on the shelves of Benu pharmacies at the beginning of the week and reportedly sold out rapidly.

Alar Irs, a medical adviser at the State Agency of Medicines told Vikerraadio Friday morning that: "This is an elegant venture between [the product's developer] Professor Ustav and his colleagues."

"People can use it for various other measures. It is important to know what it is and what it isn't," he went on.

The nasal spray is made from hyper-immunized bovine colostrum and contains antibodies produced in cattle, Vikerraadio reported.

Bovine colostrum is used, for instance, by elite athletes wishing to boost their immunity in general.

As to the coronavirus specifically, Irs said that: "The antibodies are known to block coronavirus particles in the laboratory test tube."

The product has not undergone sufficient trialing to be conclusive about its effects on the virus, however.

"In the case of medicines and vaccines, people are required to prove their effects and outline possible side-effects," Irs said.

"This product has not been demonstrated to work on humans. It is simply one additional tool that people may choose to use," he added.

It would take years for the drug to enter the market, he added, noting that the State Agency of Medicines is not the supervisor of the product.

Since existing, similar products made in other countries are available on sale in Estonia, however, the medicines agency says it sees no reason to bar the product.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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