In humans, the common cold is considered as most contagious viral infection. This is caused by many varieties of pathogens and human rhinoviruses are the most abundant among the others. The upper respiratory tract is affected the most and the symptoms are blocked nose, sneezing, and cough is the most common. Cold also has a treat for many young and old people among the high-risk group of patients including immunocompromised patients, asthmatics, COPD patients or patients with transplant recipients. There are many prescriptions available over the counters but the reviews have reported that there is no reliable cure or prevention available.
Carrageenan is a polymer consisting of sulfatedgalactose which is derived from Rhodophyceae seaweeds or red seaweeds. It is used mostly in the food preparations and as a topical product as the gelling agent and also as am emulsifying properties. There are three main types of a copolymer of carrageenan are Iota, Kappa, and Lambda, depending on the location and number of the sulfated ends on the structure of the hexose scaffold. The USFDA has recognizedcarrageenan compound as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) compound for use as food additive. The carrageenan is also used in pharmaceutical industry as a topical formulation with the daily dose of levels up to 2% i.e. 30 mg per person.
There have been studies conducted to examine the effect of carrageenan nasal spray in treating the severity the symptoms of common cold. The nasal spray reduced the symptoms and viral load in the nasal lavages of the common cold in patients having early symptoms. The results of the study reported that the pro-inflammatory mediators, that is, FGF-2, GRO, Fractalkine, IP-10, IL-8, IL-1 alpha, IFN-alpha 2, IL-10, G-CSF, etc were also reduced in the carrageenan group. Among the three copolymers, Iota carrageenan was found to be effective in the treatment of the symptoms of the common cold.