A SCOTTISH seaweed producer has welcomed news that a study is under way to look at its effectiveness in fighting coronavirus infections.

Researchers at Swansea University in Wales are leading a study involving an over the counter nasal spray from Boots costing just £5.99 which contains an ingredient which is a form of seaweed to dampen the symptoms of cold and flu.

The team will enrol 480 healthworkers, including nurses and doctors in their study.

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Medics are slightly more at risk of catching the coronavirus due to working in close proximity to Covid-19 patients.

Half will be given the nasal spray, and half will be given a placebo - a dummy drug with no effect.

Experts will then look at how many workers caught Covid-19 and if the over-the-counter spray is preventative.

They will also measure the severity of the disease in those who do catch it, including if there are any differences in duration of illness, time in intensive care and even death rates between the two groups.

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Fiona Houston, founder and SeaEO of Edinburgh-based Mara Seaweed, said: “In the past, people throughout the British Isles understood the healing properties of seaweed – that’s why seaweed tea and seaweed broth was administered by our ancestors to people recovering from flu and colds. But we forgot about it. Until now. 

“I’m excited to see further study is being conducted to see if seaweed can help with yet another health condition. We have a wealth of healing native seaweeds I’ll eagerly await the study’s findings to see if seaweed can prevent Covid-19 infection, or reduce the severity of symptoms. But it wouldn’t surprise me – I know from consuming seaweed on a daily basis myself for the last few years that I have had far fewer colds.”

The special ingredient is based on carrageenan, a red edible seaweed.

The results are expected as early as March 2021.