Sunnybrook investigating whether form of light therapy in the nose can destroy COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Can light therapy treat early stages of COVID-19?' Can light therapy treat early stages of COVID-19?
WATCH ABOVE: There's research underway at Sunnybrook Research Institute focused on whether a light therapy called photodisinfection can be used to prevent or treat the early stages of COVID-19. The study team is still looking for people who have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 (symptomatic or asymptomatic) to participate in the study. – Jan 27, 2021

Since COVID-19 first starts in the upper respiratory airwaves – particularly the front of the nose, researchers at Sunnybrook Research Institute are investigating whether a form of light therapy called Methylene blue photodisinfection (PDT) – a non-toxic dye activated by light and applied to the inside of the nose – can destroy the virus before it spreads into the lungs.

“We do know that photo-disinfection can kill the COVID-19 virus and we’ve shown that in the laboratory,” said Dr. Cari Whyne, one of the principal investigators of the study and research director of the Holland Bone and Joint Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute.

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“What our research is now, is actually looking to see how it kills the virus within individuals who have recently tested positive for COVID-19.”

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Whyne told Global News this form of light therapy is a highly effective and safe treatment which has been used for many years to treat cancer in the spine, treating different viruses and for reducing infections after spine surgery.

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“So, we treat the patient themselves in their nose before surgery and they’re much less likely to get an infection in their spine following their surgical procedure,” said Whyne.

The therapy might also prove to reduce the risk of COVID-19 among medical staff who are about to treat a COVID-19-positive patient.

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“So, if I’m a doctor and I have to do a procedure on you and I know you’re Covid-positive, if I can treat you initially and kill that virus locally, maybe I’m safer giving you the clinical care you need,” said Whyne.

The study team is actively recruiting anyone recently diagnosed with COVID-19, symptomatic or asymptomatic, to participate in the study. Those interested can email

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