A nasal spray that claims to stop the common cold in its tracks has been developed.
If it works, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has cracked a problem that has defeated the Medical Research Council’s Common Cold Research Unit for almost half a century and defied the best that science and folk medicine could throw at it.
Vicks First Defence makes no claim to cure colds, or to prevent them. But it does claim to reduce the chance of developing a full-blown cold by up to 50 per cent if taken promptly at the first sign of symptoms and to cut symptoms by up to 40 per cent.
Professor Ron Eccles, of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, said yesterday that he was excited by the development. “I’m supportive,” he said. “It’s a very good idea on their part.” The new treatment, which is not a drug, aims to trap the cold virus using a viscous gel, disarm it by creating an environment in which it cannot flourish and remove it by increasing the snuffles and washing it away.
Professor Eccles thinks that this makes sense. “There are 200 types of virus that can cause colds, in five to six different families,” he said. “So drugs that target individual viruses are always going to have a limited impact,” reports Times Online.
According to Telegraph, the spray contains no drugs. Its viscous gel coats the virus so it cannot dock with the body's cells, the low pH inhibits the virus and it irrigates the nasal passages and washes away the viruses.
Prof Ron Eccles, the director of the Common Cold Centre, Cardiff University, tested the spray on 70 volunteers challenged with a rhinovirus and found 57 per cent of the spray group developed a cold, compared with 79 per cent of the placebo group. On day three, it achieved a significant cut in symptoms.
In studies on 400 healthy subjects who were infected naturally, he found that the spray cut the duration of their colds by a day, according to results presented to a Procter & Gamble-sponsored symposium.
"A new category of treatment that attacks respiratory viruses where they first take hold, accompanied by sound clinical data, is significant and should greatly improve the discomfort and inconvenience caused to millions of cold sufferers every year," said Prof Eccles.