By: Beatrice Silva
2 min read FORT LAUDERDALE — It has been nearly five months since COVID-19 became a pandemic and initiated its assault on the world. On March 13, the United States declared a national state of emergency. Within weeks, local economies were in decline. Millions of people quarantined themselves in the safety of their homes. As the months went on, county officials began to loosen restrictions on non-essential businesses and people slowly started to emerge from the lockdown. What materialized on the other side was a completely new way of living. Wearing a mask inside establishments, waving hello instead of greeting people with a handshake and keeping a safe distance have become the new normal. With that being said, more and more people are looking for additional ways to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. Veloce BioPharma LLC, a Fort Lauderdale-based company, has raised $2.3 million in equity financing to help scale up manufacturing of its COVID-19 nasal antiseptic and mouth rinse, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.
Veloce paid homage to its roots by naming its two over-the-counter products after the company it originated from, Halodine. “This is the first iodine-based antiseptic that has ever been shown to have activity against the virus that causes Covid-19,” Dr. Jesse Pelletie, CEO of Veloce and Halodine, said in a news release. The antiseptic contains a polymer-enriched povidone-iodine, which is non-toxic to sensitive areas of the body like the eyes, mouth and skin.
The spread of COVID-19 most commonly occurs through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Those viral aerosols and droplets can remain infectious for up to three hours. Although face coverings are suggested by the CDC to help prevent the spread of the virus, all masks are not created equal. The N95 has been proven to effectively prevent viral spread. However, even the most prestigious hospitals are having trouble obtaining them. A cloth mask, most commonly worn by the average person, allows air in around the sides. “Masks aren’t enough,” said Samuel Barone, Chief Medical Officer of Veloce BioPharma to the Philadelphia Business Journal. “The world is going to be a different place. We are seeing a changing recognition and a new normal with infection control. There’s never been anything before that could bring economies to a screeching halt like COVID-19 has.”
Even though thousands of companies have adjusted their business to allow their employees to work from home there are still obstacles to overcome. For workers who have to be physically present at their jobs, undergoing a bi-weekly COVID-19 test could become a normal activity but companies should be mindful of the type of test they ask their employees to take. A molecular test is done with a simple nasal or throat swab and it can identify if a person has been infected within three to five days. Antibody tests, on the other hand, can help identify who has already been exposed to COVID-19 to reduce the need for any future testing.
“The good news is that we’ve been synthesizing a lot of information to come up with simpler, more digestible rules, approaches and strategies that we can use to take the important steps to help people get back to their workplaces… We’re continuing to learn more about these tests and how to interpret them. We’re also gaining more experience with how to use these tests in work environments,” Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer for Humana, told the South Florida Business Journal.