COVID-19 therapy options examined: tablets, drops or nasal spray?

Research team examines therapeutic options for COVID-19

There is currently no specific drug that can prevent or treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But scientists around the world are researching which active ingredients can be used for this. A research team from southern Germany is also investigating therapeutic options for COVID-19.

Medications that could enable COVID-19 treatment have been reported repeatedly in recent weeks. For example, researchers from Australia found that a product used for scabies can inhibit the multiplication of SARS-CoV-2 viruses within 48 hours. And researchers from Canada identified a drug that blocks a key receptor that SARS-CoV-2 infects its hosts with. Treatment options for COVID-19 are also being investigated in Germany.

Pharmaceutical form studies

As the Biberach University of Applied Sciences (HBC) writes in a current communication, scientists around the world are currently researching under high pressure which active ingredients can be used to treat COVID-19.

The studies that are intended to provide information on how the coronavirus disease can be treated also include studies on the dosage form, i.e. the question of whether a drug is administered, for example, as a tablet or as a drop.

This is a question that researchers from the faculty of biotechnology at the Biberach University of Applied Sciences (HBC) are dealing with - among other things in direct connection with the corona virus.

Delivery of antibodies via the respiratory mucosa

Katharina Zimmermann, Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry, has been studying the specific administration of antibodies via the respiratory mucosa for many years. She started with her colleagues Professor Chrystelle Mavoungou and Professor Annette Schafmeister with nasal sprays.

In connection with the investigation of therapeutic options for neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), the HBC is researching the targeted application of active substances through the nose into the brain.

The project group is now working on a kind of patch; First, however, aerosols were examined to distribute antibodies in the nose and lungs.

As early as 2017, the expert published a scientific paper: "A comprehensive screening platform for aerosolizable protein formulations for intranasal and pulmonary drug delivery" - "A comprehensive screening platform for protein aerosol formulation for administration in the nose and lungs".

Administration of protein aerosols in the throat

"In connection with the corona pandemic, these examinations are again very topical and very popular," reports Ms. Zimmermann. In the past few weeks, she has received requests from other scientists and pharmaceutical companies for further details of her research.

Administration of protein aerosols in the pharynx could be important for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Because if the infection can be contained in the throat, the virus may not be able to spread so massively to the lungs.

A therapeutic approach could therefore be to specifically inhale specific antibodies via the nose and mouth in order to support a necessary immune response against the pathogen. "The nature of the molecule is just as important for this as the mode of administration," says Zimmermann.

Here, the Biberach research team can draw on their previous experience, because the mucous membranes of the upper and lower respiratory tract of the human body are very similar.

Active substances for which an approval is already available

Professor Zimmermann's team therefore translates his findings from intranasal administration to the pharynx mucosa, the bronchi and the lungs. The researchers at the Biberach University of Applied Sciences carry out tests on the remains of tissue from slaughter pigs.

According to the message, the structure of the tissue is very similar to that of humans histologically; in addition, animal experiments can be avoided, explains the scientist. The goal is to administer protein active ingredients that have already been approved, according to the biochemist.

"This saves time - a factor that plays a central role in connection with the coronavirus pandemic," says Zimmermann. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Biberach University of Applied Sciences (HBC): Research team from Biberach University of Applied Sciences examines therapeutic options for Covid-19 (retrieved on April 18, 2020), Biberach University of Applied Sciences (HBC)

Video: Florida pulmonologist on researching nasal sprays to fight coronavirus (January 2022).