Does Enovid work to prevent COVID infection?
March 11, 2023 3:39 PM   Subscribe

I've been reading recently about a nasal spray called Enovid. It seems to be manufactured in Israel. "They" say it prevents infection to a large degree (as shown in clinical trials so far).

It's not available in the US. On the company's website it says that you need a US MD'd rx to order it, but it's readily available (if expensive) on ebay. Amazon used to have it but it now says it's "unavailable." Is this worth the money if I rarely expose myself to COVID but sometimes would like to see people indoors and hesitate to do so currently but would feel safer if I sprayed this stuff in my nose first? Any information positive or negative would be welcome. Thanks.
posted by DMelanogaster to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds rather strange to me. I would hesitate given its lack of ready availability and the likelyhood for scams.
posted by Alensin at 3:42 PM on March 11, 2023

I can't comment on the effectiveness of the spray but in any case I would not buy it via eBay. Where are those sellers getting it from? Is a doctor writing phantom prescriptions? Is it being imported illegally? Or, more likely, is it a counterfeit product? I can't imagine a legal source that would make it really available on eBay.
posted by metahawk at 3:56 PM on March 11, 2023 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: It's "nitric oxide," apparently.

Some links:

Jerusalem post article

I think this is the manufacturer.

from the above website:

"SaNOtize’s Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray is approved as a medical device in Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Nepal, South Africa, Germany (branded as VirXTM), Israel, Indonesia and Bahrain (branded as enovidTM).

"It is also available in India, with prescription, under the name FabiSpray.

"It is not yet approved for sale in Canada or the United States."

But I guess you can buy it anyway, with no guarantees that it's the actual stuff.
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:28 PM on March 11, 2023

Response by poster: "accelerated viral clearance" (the Lancet, Regional Health, SE Asia)
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:34 PM on March 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

I'm no doctor. My layperson's understanding of how COVID (actually SARS-CoV-2, COVID is technically the disease that results from infection by it, but that bit of pedantry is lost to the sands of time) is transmitted is this:

You get infected because the virus binds to receptors in lung tissue. This is why it spreads via aerosol transmission. When you breathe in a quantity of the virus, it gets into your lungs by breathing through both your nose AND mouth. Unless you do one or the other exclusively.

See here:

Both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV enter host cells via the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which is expressed in various human organs. We have reviewed previously published studies on SARS and recent studies on SARS-CoV-2 infection, named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by the World Health Organization (WHO), confirming that many other organs besides the lungs are vulnerable to the virus.


SARS-CoV-2 enters lung cells via the ACE2 receptor.

Meaning: you inhale it, and it can bind to this receptor in cells in your lungs through its handy spike protein. Coating the inside of your nose with various substances will not somehow short circuit this method of transmission.

AFAIK, as a sidebar, this was why, in the various clinical literature, there was early investigation of whether ACE inhibitors (which are commonly prescribed to control high blood pressure) could somehow help or hurt, but it's pretty well established that taking ACE inhibitors makes no difference either way vis-a-vis COVID infection.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:45 PM on March 11, 2023

Response by poster: Well, speaking of ACE and nasal sprays:

an article

"Johns Hopkins engineers have developed a method to prevent harmful viruses from entering the lungs, blocking the spread of COVID-19 and influenza with a nasal spray"

January 2023 from a John Hopkins publication.

The aspect of the virus getting into the respiratory tract via the MOUTH as well as the nose, though, is interesting if we're talking about a nasal spray. Mouthwash, anyone?
posted by DMelanogaster at 4:56 PM on March 11, 2023

I’m only tangentially aware of using overseas pharmacies to fill prescriptions through abortion access work, but I would research pursuing that option rather than eBay.
posted by raccoon409 at 5:27 PM on March 11, 2023

I just read this twitter thread from an epidemiologist in Canada who used both ENOVID and CPC mouthwash after his recent covid diagnosis. There are some questions and links downthread about both, including where to buy (direct from a pharmacy in Israel). You might even be able to contact him directly.

Please let us know if you find anything!
posted by lulu68 at 5:30 PM on March 11, 2023 [5 favorites]

Your first response link is broken for me but maybe you meant to link this study in the Lancet showing strong benefits to use of a Nitric Oxide Nasal Spray (NONS).

All I can say is: yes this seems like real value and effectiveness supported by real serious/conservative science and if you can get this actual product it will likely help with clearance of COVID if/when you should contract it.

Prophylactic effects are another question, but for harm reduction I think it's safe to say nitric oxide nasal spray is safe and effective, if you can get a hold of it.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:19 PM on March 11, 2023 [6 favorites]

You can get it direct from Israel at, which I have done. It ships pretty promptly. We've used it while flying and haven't gotten covid. YMMV, of course, as two people is certainly not a large enough data set. It feels like putting soda water up your nose, but otherwise no adverse effects.
posted by Runes at 8:10 PM on March 11, 2023 [4 favorites]

SaNOTize has an FAQ on enovid/VirX
3. Can I trust third party sellers such as Ebay or other websites?

SaNOtize makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, and accepts no legal liability whatsoever with respect to any products not purchased directly from SaNOtize’s authorized distributors or their retail outlets.
posted by kschang at 10:20 PM on March 11, 2023

Given how Enovid works, I would not necessarily expect prophylaxis, but I could imagine it working immediately post-exposure.

disclosure: I have a canister and have puffed it after a possible exposure.
posted by Dashy at 5:46 PM on March 12, 2023

The Lancet study should at best be considered an exploratory look. The main thing is that the primary endpoint is viral load reduction, which in an acute viral infection is not a good marker of a meaningful change in health care outcomes. You'd want something like "fewer hospitalizations," but no one in the control arm got sick enough to be hospitalized, so obviously there's no way to show improvement over placebo. Also, if you are a suspicious sort, the p-values for their two primary outcomes were 0.044 and 0.046, which would make me worry about p-hacking if I were thinking of investing.

AFAICT there's zero prevention data publicly available, and while it is as advertised a "novel mechanism" that's another way of saying "as a treatment this approach has no track record in similar diseases."

The Jerusalem Post has a lot of hallmarks of flimflammery, and in fact was co-authored with Tradis Gat Ltd, which appears to be doing marketing and distribution for Enovid.

What I saw of the science is just plausible enough that I'm not saying there is nothing beneath the marketing spin, but there's no meaningful data at this point.

[My perspective: I've worked in pharma research, including antiviral programs, for most of my career. I haven't been following Enovid at all.]
posted by mark k at 8:23 PM on March 12, 2023 [5 favorites]

I've been using Enovid prophylactically on and off for a while, but even as a single data point (me), if I had knowingly walked into a crappily ventilated room full of people with active Covid, and didn't get it? I'm not sure that is enough anecdata to be worth much. But at the time I was alerted to it, one of my friends told me about it, so I bought some online. There are a couple legit Israeli pharmacies you can buy from, even with free shipping, but it takes a while to arrive.
posted by bitterkitten at 1:50 PM on March 15, 2023

edit: mistake post
posted by pullayup at 11:36 AM on March 17, 2023

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