Sales of an over-the-counter nasal spray that powder-coats the nasal membranes, making it difficult for airborne viruses to enter the body, has surged by a whopping 688% in the UK amid fears of the dreaded coronavirus (2019-nCoV).[1]

In one of the clinical trials using the nasal spray, researchers noted an illness incidence decrease in 90 % of patients, and the duration (in days) of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) decreased by 2,5 times in upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) among study participants, compared to the same period in the previous year.[2]

In South Africa, the same product is branded as Nexa Shield ™ and is distributed by Pharma Dynamics.

Nicole Jennings, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says UK consumers are taking every precaution to protect themselves against contracting 2019-nCoV, which might have led to the surge in sales of the nasal spray.

She says Nexa Shield ™ includes natural cellulose powder of vegetable origin, called hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), which shields the nasal membrane from airborne allergens and viruses. [3]

“It’s backed by over 20 clinical trials inclusive of comparative studies of cellulose powder. One of the main points of entry for airborne germs is through one’s nose and it’s thus very effective as a first line of defence.

“Other ways to reduce one’s risk is to keep up proper hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alternatively, alcohol-based hand sanitisers should be used[4]. Face-to-face contact and crowded environments where germs typically thrive should also be avoided”, says Jennings.

To clear up some of the misconceptions around the virus, Jennings provides the following advice[5]:

  • She says it’s still safe to receive a letter or package from China as the virus doesn’t survive long on objects.
  • There is no evidence that pets can be infected by the Coronavirus, but always wash your hands after petting or playing with your dog or cat to protect you against other germs.
  • Vaccines against other respiratory diseases such as, pneumonia, does not protect you against the Coronavirus, which is a brand new virus. Scientists are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV.
  • While rinsing with saline solution is a good way to clean out your sinuses, it won’t protect you against 2019-nCoV.
  • The same is true for mouthwash.
  • Eating garlic, which does contain some antimicrobial properties, unfortunately also offers no protection.
  • Rubbing sesame oil or petroleum jelly on your nose will also not reduce your risk of infection.
  • Everyone (young and old) are vulnerable to 2019-nCoV, but those with an existing condition, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes may be at greater risk and should take extra care.
  • As 2019-nCoV is a virus, taking antibiotics won’t help.
  • Wearing a mask also only offers limited protection as one has to remove it to eat and when someone sneezes on the mask, the virus could still pass through.

The coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 28 354 people in that region and killed over 565, with nearly 200 cases confirmed in 23 countries outside of China[6]. (At time of press release 10/02/2020)

The virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, but typical symptoms, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath may appear as early as two days after contracting the virus[7].

In SA, measures are also being ramped up in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Travellers are being scanned by thermal cameras at ports of entry to limit transmission[8].

There were 14 suspected cases in SA, but all tests results have since come up negative[9].


[1] Data on file

[2] Nasaleze clinical trials: Use of Nasaleze Cold as a prevention method for acute respiratory illnesses in paediatric practice. Geppe, Farber, Kozhevnikova, Andriyanova. (Nexa FluShield™ is marketed as Nasaleze Cold in Europe.)

[3] Nexa AllerShield™, Nexa AllerShield Junior™, Nexa TravelShield™, Nexa FluShield™: Please refer to the respective Instructions for Use for further information.

[4] CDC,

[5] WHO,

[6] CNBC,

[7] CDC,

[8] MSN,

[9] IOL,









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