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Are you an asthmatic interested in taking part in a clinical trial that could help reduce asthma during a cold?

We are trialling an exciting new nasal spray, which has been developed to reduce cold symptoms. We want to see if it helps reduce asthma symptoms during a cold.


The nasal spray contains the natural and safe product carrageenan, which is a seaweed extract. This extract has been used since the 1950s as a food additive in products such as ice cream. Recently, researchers found that carrageenan spray may reduce the severity of cold symptoms in adults. Carrageenan is thought to work by preventing the cold virus from attaching itself to the lining of the nose. We are trying to find out if applying it as soon as you get a cold can reduce asthma in adults when used together with your usual medications.

The study involves:

  • Taking a nasal spray 4 times a day for 10 days, starting the first day of cold symptoms, for up to 2 colds.
    • The nasal spray contains either a carrageenan and saline solution, or a saline solution only. You would be randomly assigned one of the two sprays.
  • An initial visit of 40 minutes with researchers, followed by up to 3 short visits (15 minutes each), depending on how many colds you have during the 16 week study period. The visits can be either at your home or at the Wellington School of Medicine, Newtown.
  • Completing a questionnaire about your respiratory health.
  • Filling out a cold symptom diary and asthma control questionnaire (ACQ) when you have a cold.
  • Taking your own peak flow readings each day you have a cold.
  • Taking a swab of your nose to check for cold viruses (optional).
  • Have an allergy test (skin prick test) to find out what environmental allergens you might be allergic to (optional).

Please fill in the form below if you are interested in receiving our study information sheet or taking part in this study.

Expression of interest
  • No longer recruiting.


  • We will discuss the study eligibility criteria with you, but they include:
    • Adults with doctor diagnosed asthma.
    • People aged between 18 – 55 years old.
    • People living in the Greater Wellington region.
    • People who have had at least 1 cold with asthma symptoms in the past 12 months.

Those not eligible include:

  • People who already use a nasal spray regularly.
  • People with a history of nasal polyps.
  • People with doctor diagnosed COPD.
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to seaweed or seaweed products.

Contact us

If you would like to talk to us you can contact us on +64 4 918 6856 or email

This study is being undertaken by the Wellington Asthma Research Group, University of Otago, Wellington and is funded by the Health Research Council.


Contact us

Tel +64 4 918 6856

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