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pharma pioneer introduces TaffiX antiviral nose-powderIsraeli

TaffiX is a powder-based nasal medical treatment meant to kill most viruses (photo credit: EFRAT ESHEL)
TaffiX is a powder-based nasal medical treatment meant to kill most viruses
(photo credit: EFRAT ESHEL)

TaffiX is a powder-based medical device that coats the nasal passages.

When Nasus Pharma Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dalia Meggido discussed COVID-19 with fellow workers, she joked that it would have been fantastic if one could simply burn the virus as it enters the nose in the breathing process. The joke quickly became a reality when she realized such a thing could, in theory, be done.

The body usually attempts to capture viruses and hostile bacteria using rhinorrhoea [a runny nose], but its pH level is 6.8 – not enough to destroy viruses. Also, since it is a liquid, people usually swallow it or blow their noses dry, so it doesn’t stay in the body long.

TaffiX is a powder-based medical device that coats the nasal passages with a clear HPMC jelly having a 3.5 pH level, Meggido told The Jerusalem Post, adding that and works for up to five hours in test animals. Human users don’t feel the acidic effect because the gel is formed on the naturally produced coating of the nasal passages.  
Although TaffiX is sold in Israel, the Health Ministry declined to approve the claim that it can prevent COVID-19. In the EU, however, the product is sold with that claim, as well as that it can prevent almost all other viruses (99%) from entering the body via the nose.

“The coronavirus has a series of proteins around it which it uses as “keys” to open various “locks” in the cells it wishes to enter and take over,” Meggido told the Post. “Many of these “locks” are located in the human nose.”  
With a rich history in working on orphan drugs – cures for rare diseases that are harder to market – she confessed to being fearful when she sees the speed at which humanity is racing to find a vaccination for COVID-19.
“We know more about the virus and how it operates,” she said, “but not what its weak points are. Such research takes, in normal conditions, years upon years. If they will be able to reach a vaccination within a year only God himself knows what will be the long-term effects of such a thing.”  
While she agrees that “the need is real,” she points to some issues that even an effective, fairly safe vaccine may not be able to answer. For example, if the vaccination will need to be transported in a cold container, the costs of shipping and handling it will skyrocket.   
Meggido used to treat patients as a medical doctor before she decided in the 1980's to transition into business.  
“I had seen many cases of rare genetic diseases that most companies don’t even try to create a cure for, and these children sadly died,” she lamented.
She added that, in addition to that emotional motivation, there is also a practical one in that the FDA requires less testing before approving orphan drugs – “but not lesser quality tests,” she points out.
Israel, being the home of the Jewish people, which as an ethnic group that tends to marry within itself, is also a fertile ground for such research. If in the US one would need to reach out to ten centers to test on 50 patients, studies can be done in Israel at much greater ease.
Meggido chose to invest in Chiasma, a company that developed a way to treat Acromegaly and was able to obtain FDA approval this summer. Meggido has also been involved with Alcobra (now Arcturus Therapeutics) and BioBlast Pharma. Both companies have had their ups and down.  
“We are in an industry with a one to 10,000 success rate between scientists finding something in a lab and it eventually becoming a product,” she told the Post.  
“At the end of the day, biology isn’t math and you can fail even if you did everything perfectly well,” Meggido explained.
“It’s not a shame to fail because biology surprised you; it’s a shame to fail due to bad management of a company.”

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