A Boots nasal spray for cold and flu has shown positive results during testing to see if it could help tackle coronavirus infections.

Researchers at Swansea University will begin human trials this week following a successful study suggests the £5.99 remedy, Dual Defence, could help reduce infections thanks to its special ingredient – seaweed.

Boots Dual Defence, which contains carrageenan, is already clinically proven to help shorten the duration and severity of cold and flu-like symptoms and new laboratory study results suggest that it could also reduce the risk of an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

The research was started to help tide people over until a vaccine arrived and now that hospitals have been told to expect the initial vaccine roll-out in as little as 10 days, it is hoped the discovery could help frontline NHS staff.

Principal investigator Dr Zita Jessop said: “After seeing the effects of this pandemic on colleagues caring for patients with COVID-19, we wanted to find a way for research to help protect frontline NHS staff.

“Previous studies highlighted the effectiveness of iota-carrageenan-based nasal sprays against coronaviruses, indicating promise against SARS-Cov-2. 

“If the results of this randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial are positive as we expect, this has the potential to add an extra prevention strategy in the fight against COVID-19.”

The results of the tests, conducted on 480 NHS staff, are expected to be published in March 2021.