Another spray that is currently on shelves, Halo Oral Antiseptic, is a new oral antiseptic spray that can kill 99.9 percent of airborne germs. Two studies found the new spray to be effective at killing infectious germs.
The first study, which led to the development of the product, looked at glycerine and xanthan gum as a barrier, combined with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) as a broad-spectrum agent to fight respiratory illness. They then tested the combination by exposing it to the 2009 strain of H1N1. They found that the barrier ingredients prevented the germs from entering the person’s system, and the CPC killed the germs once they were trapped there.
The second study looked at the final Halo product, and found that when a person used three sprays, it destroyed airborne germs breathed into the body for up to six hours, even when eating and drinking. The spray could be another line of defense against cold and flu.
[SLIDESHOW: 5 Things That Boost Your Flu Risk]
Are other drugs a possibility?
Current antiviral medications target viral proteins. The problem with targeting the virus is that it can quickly mutate and become resistant to the medications. So scientists are looking into drugs that work on host functions. One study developed a cell screening method to identify potential anti-flu drugs, and found three that are currently approved or being studied as anticancer agents. The amount needed to curb the flu would be much lower than those needed to create cancer cell death, which could provide a new mechanism for antiviral drugs.
In a similar vein, scientists are also looking into drugs that target a certain enzyme produced by the flu virus. When the flu virus replicates, it uses this enzyme to produce copies of the viral genome and assembles messenger molecules coded for viral proteins. These molecules are required to take over the host cell’s function and produce more of the virus. Researchers have found a way to inhibit this enzyme, which essentially “caps” the virus’ ability to duplicate.
Bottom line: While all these treatments are in various stages of development, the future of flu treatments is bright and ever-changing, much like the flu virus itself. For now, keep up good hygiene and get your flu shot early in the season to stay as protected as possible.
n.p. (2012, October 3). "Predicting The Spread Of Flu May Be Improved By Evolutionary Analysis." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250970.php
n.p. (2012, September 18). "A Step Closer To Universal Flu Vaccine, New Therapies." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250328.php
n.p. (2012, September 14). "An Advance Toward A Flu-Fighting Nasal Spray." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250214.php