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Can whippets kill Covid-19 infections? Big Pharma seems to think so. 

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and its partner SaNOtize Research and Development Corp., a Canadian biotech firm, launched a nitrous oxide nasal spray to treat adults suffering from coronavirus, according to the Hindustan Times

Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals received approval from India’s drug regulator earlier this month for the production of the nitrous oxide medication called “FabiSpray” as part of an accelerated approval process. “Phase 3 trial in India met the key endpoints and demonstrated reduction of viral load of 94 percent in 24-hours and 99 percent in 48-hours. Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS) was safe and well-tolerated in Covid-19 patients,” according to a press release.

FabiSpray is designed to kill Covid infections inside the nose and the upper airways so that it doesn’t travel into the lungs. The way it works, according to Glenmark Pharma, is nitrous oxide is sprayed over nasal mucosa, which acts as a physical and chemical barrier against the virus. Allegedly, this will prevent the virus from incubating and spreading to the lungs.

“This reaffirms our commitment of providing yet another safe and effective antiviral treatment for Covid-19, and we are confident that it will offer patients a much needed and timely therapy option,” said Robert Crockart, the chief commercial officer of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd, in a statement.

Glenmark Pharma entered an exclusive, long-term strategic partnership with SaNOtize back in July 2021 to manufacture and market the nasal spray. FabiSpray will also be distributed in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Nepal, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, according to the Hindustan Times.

This new drug comes at a time when India’s COVID-19 infections are surging. On Wednesday, Feb. 8, India logged 71,365 fresh cases in 24-hours, pushing the overall tally to 42,410,976. The United States is also rounding out another intense Covid surge that hit during the holiday season and peaked in January. As of Feb. 14, 2022, the New York Times reported 206,317 new cases. 

We’re still in the throes of the pandemic, unfortunately. Maybe huffing a little laughing gas is the levity the collective desperately needs.