Nasal administration bypasses the blood-brain barrier (BBB), overcomes poor oral bioavailability and enables delivery of large molecules to the central nervous system (CNS) [2]. It is particularly effective in delivering peptides to the brain. In the last two decades, a number of nasal liquid formulations and dry powder inhalers (DPIs) have been developed for therapeutic peptide brain delivery.

A new peptide nasal spray has the potential to prevent seizures and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and epilepsy, scientists say. The A1R-CT peptide targets a protein called neurabin, which helps ensure that the protective mechanism that tamps down the hyperexcitability of neurons that disrupts normal communication and leads to seizures doesn’t overdo it.

In experiments in mice with severe seizures, and in an Alzheimer’s mouse model, the peptide significantly reduced excessive electrical activity. By inhibiting neurabin with the peptide, it enabled increased action by the A1 receptor, which also lowered the death of neurons in both models.

The peptide was delivered through the nose, and protection was immediate and lasted at least 24 hours, researchers report in Science(link is external and opens in a new window). The team plans to rapidly advance the peptide to human trials, with the ultimate goal of deploying the therapy to contain transmission during this pandemic.

Another team, led by scientists at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, has designed an antiviral nasal spray that blocks the new coronavirus from entering host cells. Their research was published Feb. 17 in Science(link is external and opens in the journal). The spray, which consists of lipopeptides created by professors Anne Moscona and Matteo Porotto, may prove to be an important complement to vaccines, the scientists say. peptide nasal sprays