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Imagine fending off the flu with a quick nasal spray. That may one day be possible, according to researcher James Baker at the University of Michigan Medical School. Baker found that a mild, milky liquid called BCTP killed the influenza virus in cell cultures and in the nasal passages of lab mice. Craig Wright, chief research scientist at Columbia, Md.-based Novavax-the company that developed BCTP-explains that the liquid destroys viruses and bacteria by selectively disrupting their membranes without harming human cells. Wright says substances like BCTP-a nanoemulsion of lipids-are much like skin moisturizers: “I like to call them killer cosmetics.”

Baker found that a mild, milky liquid called BCTP killed the influenza virus in cell cultures and in the nasal passages of lab mice. Craig Wright, chief research scientist a Columbia, Md.-based Novavax-the company that developed BCTP-explains that the liquid destroys viruses and bacteria by selectively disrupting their membranes without harming human cells. Wright says substances like BCTP-a nanoemulsion of lipids-are much like skin moisturizers: “I like to call them killer cosmetics.”

Baker says his team hopes to begin clinical trials of the anti-microbial agent “in a couple of years,”and they’re investigating the use of BCTP to neutralize biological weapons such as anthrax.

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