Nasal Spray May Prevent Ear Infection

Inventors of a new nasal spray designed to help prevent
ear infections in children report promising results in lab tests on mice.

Those tests show the spray, which doesn't have a name yet, was 100%
effective in preventing ear infections in mice exposed to pneumonia bacteria
and the flu virus.B Testing has not yet been done on humans.

The spray's developers include Jonathan McCullers, MD, of St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Vincent Fischetti, PhD, of
the bacterial pathogenesis lab at New York's Rockefeller University.

The researchers exposed mice to a bacterium called Streptococcus
. About half of all children carry that bacterium, the
researchers note.

One week later, the scientists gave half the mice the experimental nasal
spray, which contains a protein called lysin (different from lysine
supplements) that attacks the bacteria. The rest of the mice received a placebo
nasal spray containing no lysin or other medicine.

Then the mice were exposed to a flu virus four hours
after treatment with either the experimental or placebo nasal sprays.

None of the mice that had gotten the experimental spray developed ear
infections. But ear infections developed in 80% of the mice that had gotten the
placebo spray.

Children and adults can now be vaccinated against S. pneumoniae,
which helps reduce the number of infections that occur from the bacteria, such
as ear infections and pneumonia.B

The findings appear in Public Library of Science Pathogens.

Rockefeller University recently licensed the lysin technology rights to a
company called Enzybiotics Inc. Fischetti leads the company's scientific
advisory board, notes a Rockefeller University news release.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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