Pioneering therapy developed in Portugal promises to eliminate virus in seconds

A consortium put together by the University of Coimbra is working on a pioneering therapy which promises to eliminate “in seconds” the virus that causes Covid-19.

Dubbed FOTOVID – because it involves a process known as photodisinfection – the project aims to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 “right at the main source of entry” into the body: the nasal cavities.

The plan is to start with preliminary tests next month at the university’s medical faculty with samples of the virus taken from infected patients.

Once the ‘effectiveness of the photodynamic elimination of the virus has been proved’, clinical trials will go ahead coordinated by Portuguese immunology and infectious disease specialists Manuel Santos Rosa and José Saraiva da Cunha.

The beauty of this therapy is not only that it promises to tackle the virus long before it has started attacking the body, it is ‘low cost’.

The team working on the project includes two pharmaceutical companies, one Portuguese (LaserLeap, based in Coimbra), the other Canadian (Ondine Biomedical – described as a world leader in antibacterial photodisinfection).

The joint initiative has just received an UE grant of 450,000 euros from the ‘Programa Operacional Centro 2020’ (designed to support development in the central region), and its objective, say those behind it, is to become the first therapeutic option – the way literally of cutting Covid-19 dead before it can do serious harm.

Explain reports, FOTOVID is based on “recent knowledge that SARS-CoV-2 is associated with a protein present in nasal cavities where a reservoir of the virus is created which goes on to transmit the disease and the generalisation of infection”.

Thus “eliminating the virus present in the nasal cavities at this early phase of the Covid-19 illness can accelerate treatment”.

Belief is that victims would/ may go on to develop “just the most benign signs of the disease” and this too would “impede propagation of the pandemic”.

The technology behind nasal disinfection (created by Ondine) is already used worldwide to eliminate multi-resistant bacteria. Tweaking it to tackle SARS-CoV-2 is what’s underway in Coimbra.

Said Luís Arnaut, one of the lead researchers involved, nasal disinfection is a process “with a high degree of sophistication” that has been seen to succeed when all other therapies fail.

“This high degree of sophistication makes us believe in success in the therapy to combat Covid-19”, he explained.

It’s a plan that would become even more useful in the event that the ‘vaccines’ under development right now will almost certainly be unable to ‘eradicate’ Covid-19 (just as flu vaccines and measles vaccines have been unable to eradicate their diseases).

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com