Studies are underway in Florida to determine if a Utah-manufactured product will prove effective in battling the symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Dr. Gustavo Ferrer, in partnership with Larkin Community Hospital of Miami, have begun the investigation and have filed an IND (investigational new drug) application with the FDA for the nasal spray Xlear that is made by American Fork-based Xlear Inc. Xylitol, the primary active ingredient in Xlear, has been shown in unpublished studies at Utah State University to relieve symptoms and reduce the time to a negative nasopharyngeal swab in adult patients with COVID-19.
Xlear, a saline and xylitol nasal solution, has been on the market for over 20 years and was invented 23 years ago by a physician that graduated from Brigham Young University before going on to medical school. He invented it to prevent upper respiratory infections, specifically ear infections in children. Studies have shown it to be a more effective virucide than either ingredient alone. It works by either killing the virus or limiting its ability to adhere to the tissue of the respiratory tract, according to doctors at Xlear.
The study, which will take place at Larkin Community Hospital in Miami will be led by Ferrer, who in addition to running two Florida ICUs during the COVID-19 pandemic, has also been highly sought-after subject matter expert for both domestic and international media outlets. The study will be a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial to determine the efficacy the product.
Ferrer has been using Xlear for years in his practices in Florida and more so since the COVID pandemic has started. He reports that his staff have been using it since the beginning of the pandemic and not a single staff member has become sick. Patients that test positive have started using it and within days are testing negative and remain asymptomatic, he said. Ferrer believes that the product should be used by anybody who gets tested from the time they get tested until symptoms abate or, if the test comes back positive, until they test negative for COVID-19.
Xlear Inc. was founded in American Fork in 2000 and employs about 125 people.