A discovery that could completely eliminate airborne disease transmission that occurs when someone coughs has been made by researchers at the University of Alberta.
Malcolm King and his research associate Gustavo Zayas at the U of A developed a drug that, when inhaled, would reduce or eliminate the amount of droplets, called bioaerosol, coming out of the mouth when a disease -infected person coughs. These airborne particles can stay in the air for minutes and sometimes even hours.
PhD student Anwarul Hasan, who assisted the team, found out after five years of research how the new drug can manipulate the properties of the lung fluid to almost completely suppress the emission of droplets.This discovery provides a clear target for the new drug in its early phases of development.
King and Zayas are moving forward to develop the drug in the form of a spray and plan to perform clinical trials in hopes that one day this drug could not only help stop the spread of a pandemic outbreak, but also protect nurses, doctors and other front-line health care professionals.