When the next coronavirus starts spreading, we might be able to avoid doing battle over facemasks, thanks to a compound developed by researchers at North Carolina State University.

The group has created a hydrogel that forms a barrier in the lungs against coronaviruses that lasted up to eight hours in tests with monkeys. 

The hydrogel is in the form of microspheres packaged in a dry powder that can simply be inhaled like asthma medication.

The spheres adhere to the mucous membranes lining the airways. Once they attach to the moist mucus, they swell to about ten times their original size and cross-link to form a continuous blanket that gives a coronavirus no place to attach. 

The spheres also are small enough to reach deep into the lungs.

The powder is made of food-grade materials and doesn’t interfere with regular breathing. 

The group is examining ways it might improve their concoction and is planning human tests.

TRENDPOST: The powder won’t defend against viral transmission by touch, but that way of catching a virus is easier to avoid than breathing it in.

Because the powder is made of food-grade ingredients and is based on a hydrogel made from nontoxic materials, it would be a good candidate for sale over the counter instead of by prescription.

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