Biotechnology company Turn Therapeutics has received authorisation in Panama to begin the human trial of its product, Hexagen, for treating Covid-19.

Gorgas Memorial Institute of Health Studies (GMH), Hospital Santo Tomas, Caja de Seguro Social, Hospital Integral Panamá Solidario and the Panamanian Department of Health granted approval for the trial, set to begin enrolment soon.

An FDA cleared advanced wound product, Hexagen has broad-spectrum, liquid antimicrobials with robust antiviral capabilities suspended in petrolatum.

Studies’ lead investigator Dr Julio Sandoval said: “Independent literature has confirmed that SARS-CoV-2 targets the nose and that the nose is the highest source of viral shedding.

“Reducing viral load will not only decrease the likelihood of severe illness in the carrier but may lessen environmental spread via reduced shedding.

“We must remember that vaccines have not been confirmed to prevent spread. People may still be a carrier and spreader even if vaccinated.”

The randomised, placebo-controlled, two-part, four-arm trial will enrol around 100 mild to moderate Covid-19 patients and 50 healthcare staff in four hospitals in the country, including GMH, which will also be the central lab for sample analysis.

The treatment cohorts will analyse the efficacy of a five-day, three-time daily nasal decolonisation protocol in lowering the viral load and symptom progression of mild to moderate Covid-19 patients.

Hexagen’s ability in preventing Covid-19 in frontline workers when worn intranasally as an adjunct to personal protective equipment will be analysed by the prevention cohorts.

Turn Therapeutics CEO Bradley Burnam said: “While those who receive a vaccination may be protected if exposed, vaccines are not the end of this disease.

“There is so much of the world that will wait for years to be vaccinated; some may never even have the chance.”

The company noted that an initial data readout is taking place next month.