Broad-spectrum antiviral nasal sprays to prevent infection by SARS-CoV2 and seasonal respiratory viruses in patients and healthcare providers

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic due to the emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) which causes COVID-19, a potentially lethal respiratory infection. There are currently no antiviral agents to prevent or treat SARS-CoV2 infections. This project proposes the optimization and prototype development of a broad spectrum antiviral pharmaceutical preparation (RespVirex) to protect healthcare workers and high-risk patients from SARS-CoV2 and dozens of other seasonal and pandemic viruses.

The team aims to deliver RespVirex by nasal spray and nebulized aerosol. A nasal spray can be dosed conveniently by healthcare workers as needed during respiratory virus seasons or a pandemic. RespVirex can also be inhaled by nebulizer to treat the lower respiratory tract. The pharmaceutical formulation of the nasal spray and nebulized aerosol will be developed in Canada, while its ability to inhibit SARS-CoV2 and other respiratory viruses will be evaluated at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal.

The project was selected for funding through the COVID-19 May 2020 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, coordinated by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with IDRC and several other health research funding agencies across Canada.

Project ID


Project status



12 months

IDRC Officer

Fabiano Santos

Total funding

CA$ 662,480




Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

David Marchand


The Governors of The University of Alberta

Institution Country


Institution Website