Researchers at Texas A&M University are developing an Aloe Vera nose spray that can effectively treat influenza.
Dr. Ian Tizard, professor of pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences says that the method in which the vaccine gets delivered right into the body is the key to the new treatment.
Tizard explained the procedure for the production of the medicine and also the way it is combined with flu vaccine.
"We take Aloe Vera leaves and put them through a series of complex extraction steps to produce a chemically pure powder, and then we combine the flu vaccine with it," Tizard said.
"When this powder vaccine is puffed into the nose, it forms a jelly-like substance that clings to the inside of the nose and is absorbed into the body much more effectively. It stays longer and it has more time to do its work," he said.
Tizard talked about the medicines' advantages and added that one or two puffs into the nose were more than enough to get good results in most of the cases.
"This powder form is more effective than a liquid spray because the nose tends to clear liquid sprays out, while the powder turns into a sticky gel and can be a much more potent vaccine. Also, in this powder form, it can be stored for a long period of time, which is great news if thousands or even millions of doses should be needed in the case of an emergency," he said.
As for the reason for using Aloe Vera in the medicine, it is the special carbohydrate in the plant's leaves, which is perfect for forming the gel-like substance needed to act as a carrier for the vaccine.