New oral antiseptic spray developed by researchers can prevent colds and flu.
The Halo Oral Antiseptic, which is currently on store shelves, has been found to be effective in killing 99.9 percent of infectious airborne germs.
"Respiratory tract disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world," said Frank Esper, MD, infectious disease expert at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.
"Yet there has been limited progress in the prevention of respiratory virus infections. Halo is unique in that it offers protection from airborne germs such as influenza and rhinovirus," noted Dr. Esper, who is the lead author of one of the two studies that led to the development of the spray.
Dr. Esper and a team of researchers used glycerine and xanthan gum as a microbial barrier combined with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) as a broad-spectrum anti-infective agent to fight respiratory illnesses.
To test this, clinical strains of 2009 pandemic H1N1 were used as a prototype virus to demonstrate Halo's anti-infective activity in cell culture assays.
"The glycerine and xanthan gum prevent the germs from entering a person's system and the CPC kills the germs once they're trapped there," explained Dr. Esper, who is also Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
According to Dr. Esper, Halo will have clear benefit to aid against infection and reduce disease from epidemic, sporadic or pandemic respiratory viral infections, particularly helping people at risk for severe respiratory illness including immune-compromised individuals with chronic lung disease, and military personnel.
Another study by Mahmoud Ghannoum, PhD, of UH Case Medical Center, showed Halo's effectiveness against disease-causing pathogenic germs.
The study asserts that respiratory and/or systemic infections through airborne and manually transmitted pathogenic microbes often enter the system through the mouth, making Halo, an oral spray that targets these pathogens, an effective way to prevent infections.
Preliminary data from the researchers also found that Halo completely kills all 11 clinical strains of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) against which the spray was tested.
The results showed that when a person used three sprays of Halo, it destroyed airborne germs breathed in for up to six hours, even when people were eating and drinking.
"Exposure to airborne germs is inevitable - especially in crowded environments and when traveling," said Dr. Ghannoum, who is also the Director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
"Unlike other products that support the immune system or protect from germs on surfaces or hands, Halo is the first and only product of its kind to offer protection from airborne germs," he added.
The researchers presented their findings in San Francisco at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC).