BioBlock® nasal spray is designed to serve as a prophylactic, supplemental measure to help prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reduce the infection rate, and avoid extensive restrictions. It is intended be used in conjunction with other preventive measures such as masks, hand hygiene, social distancing, as well as vaccination.
BioBlock® is a natural product derived from bovine colostrum collected from cows hyperimmunized with the SARS-CoV-2 viral spike protein. Bovine colostrum is milk produced by cows within the first few days after giving birth that contains antibodies that provide passive immunity to the newborn calves. BioBlock® is produced from colostrum that, along with other naturally occurring beneficial antibodies, contains antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
Professor Mart Ustav, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Icosagen, who developed the original concept for the product, emphasized that this is not a traditional pharmaceutical drug, but a locally administered antiviral product that works on the surface of the mucous membranes in the nasopharynx, where the early phase of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection begins. Based on laboratory tests, BioBlock® solution is able to effectively inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
"It is a natural product sprayed into the nasopharynx, with a single administration dose containing 80 mg of bovine antibodies, which is 2,000 times less than in one glass of milk," professor Ustav specified. However, it should be noted that, although BioBlock® is lactose-free, it is not recommended for people with allergies to milk proteins.
Furthermore, according to professor Ustav, tests have shown that these antibodies are not only effective against the first virus strain that originated in Wuhan, but also against the new, more prevalent virus variants from Great Britain (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), and Brazil (P.1). It was studied both in biochemical and in BSL-3 laboratory live SARS-CoV-2 virus experiments at the University of Tartu, which confirmed its broad activity. Effectiveness against the Indian strain of the virus is currently being tested and determined.
A clinical study has shown that the antibodies in BioBlock® nasal spray remain on the mucosa and provide protection for up to 4 hours.
BioBlock® could be helpful as an additional preventive measure against the SARS-CoV-2 virus whenever or wherever social distancing is difficult and potential risk for infection is present—at home or work, in restaurants, schools, gyms, public transportation, or other crowded places.
Consortium of Estonian companies
To develop, produce, and bring to the market the novel BioBlock® nasal spray, a number of well-established Estonian companies and universities joined together to form a consortium. The consortium includes the following: Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ; AS Chemi-Pharm; OÜ Teadus ja Tegu; Estonian University of Life Sciences (Institute of Veterinary Medicine and OÜ Eerika farm); and University of Tartu (Institute of Pharmacy, Institute of Biomedical and Translational Medicine, and Institute of Technology).
Collectively, members of the consortium including Icosagen Cell Factory OÜ, Chemi-Pharm AS, and the Institute of Pharmacy of the University of Tartu have developed a precise recipe for BioBlock® that ensures efficacy and safety of the product.
"Production volumes are growing every week, reaching hundreds of thousands in the coming months. In particular, we supply nasal spray to Estonian residents in Benu pharmacies and Chemi-Pharm e-store. The next step is to plan exports to neighboring countries first, then further afield,” said Ruth Oltjer, the founder of Chemi-Pharm.
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