BOSTON (WHDH) - Local researchers are working on a new way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when wearing a mask is not an option.

While scientists all over the world are working at breakneck speeds to come up with therapeutics and vaccines to treat and prevent the novel coronavirus, Dr. Nitin Joshi and a team of doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are developing a different kind of weapon to fight the virus.

The team is creating a special kind of nasal spray that will block the virus from entering the body. Something they hope to make available at any drug store.

“What we are doing is we are trying to maximize the capability of the nose to capture the viruses and to kill them within minutes,” Joshi said.

He said that 95 percent of COVID-19 transmission happens through the nose which would make the nasal spray an effective preventative measure.

“It forms a layer, like a protective coating there which has an agent that can actually capture these respiratory droplets and capture the virus and doesn’t allow the virus to go into the body,” he explained.

The team is taking a drug-free approach and using materials that have been FDA approved and used in nasal products for years.

“We envision to develop this as an over-the-counter product that can be easily available to people and doesn’t require like a clinical prescription,” Joshi said.

The doctors said each application could last up to four hours and that the spray itself would be both inexpensive and easily mass-produced for wide distribution.

“We’re very eager to help children get back to school, travelers to safely travel again,” Dr. Jeff Karp said. “And you know when people take their masks off, to eat, for example, having a gel within the nose that can capture and kill the virus could just be another route to provide protection and reduce transmission.”

The doctors said they plan to test the spray on animals within the next few weeks and if all goes well, it could be available to purchase within a few months.

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