Ann Arbor Company Says Its Nasal Antiseptic Sold Over The Counter Can Kill COVID-19

Nanobio protect
Photo credit (credit: BlueWillow Biologics)

(WWJ) While not confirmed by U.S. Food and Drug Administration trials, an Ann Arbor-based company says its nasal antiseptic can kill COVID-19. 

WWJ's Dr. Deanna Lites reports the product called NanoBio Protect is a over-the-counter antiseptic swab used on the skin in and around the nose.

The business behind it, BlueWillow Biologics, says it's alcohol-free and kills 99.99% of germs. And while the makers stress "it's not a cure" — they say testing in England found the product also kills COVID-19.

"They did testing in their lab, and they did a number of samples, a number of time points tested, and in every single test our product killed COVID-19," said BlueWillow's chief medical officer, Dr.  Chad Costley. 

BlueWillow is promoting the product as an added form of protection against the virus, to be used along with frequent hand washing, limited touching of the face and social distancing.

"We see this is part of a complete approach to keeping yourself safe from infection," said Costley, who uses NanoBio Protect before heading out in public, along with wearing a mask.

The active ingredient in NanoBio Protect is benzalkonium chloride, a compound that has been approved for over-the-counter sales by the FDA. It's been used since the 1940s and is found in many consumer products — such as skin antiseptics, wound wash sprays, cold sore treatments, hand sanitizers and as a preservative in eye, ear and nasal drops. (Learn more about the product, here)

However, to be clear, neither the FDA nor the CDC have approved NanoBio Protect or any form of benzalkonium chloride for use as a treatment for COVID-19. 

In its guidance on hand sanitizers, the CDC said: "Benzalkonium chloride, along with both ethanol and isopropanol, is deemed eligible by FDA for use in the formulation of healthcare personnel hand rubs," the CDC website states. "However, available evidence indicates benzalkonium chloride has less reliable activity against coronavirus than either of the alcohols."

NanoBio Protect is available for $24.95 a bottle by the case on the company's website, and Costley said it will be available on Amazon next week.