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Scientists highlight the potential of oral rinses to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission





A group of scientists from different disciplines reviewed the scientific research in the field of mouthwash to value the potential of some compounds used in oral rinses to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the first phases of the infection. The results were published in the journal of physiology Function.

Among the participants of the study is the virologist Albert Bosch, professor at the Faculty of Biology of the UB and president of the Spanish Society of Virology, apart from experts on lipids, microbicides, and health experts from the universities of Cardiff, Nottingham, Colorado, Ottawa and Cambridge. The industry has also taken part in the study by providing information on the formula of the oral rinse.

SARS-CoV-2 is a virus which is enveloped by lipid. One of the strategies presented by the scientists to inactivate the virus in the throat is to damage this membrane. Previous studies showed that the common agents in oral rinses, such as low quantities of ethanol, povidone-iodine and cetylpridinium chloride, could damage the lipid membranes that surround the virus.

In this study, researchers assessed the formulas of the oral rinses to determine the potential ability to act on SARS-CoV-2 lipids and suggested that they conduct the clinical study of some compounds. According to the authors, the published study on enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses, reinforces the idea that we need more research on whether mouthwashing could be a way to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

The study to determine the potential of this approach could include the assessment of existing or designed formulas in the laboratory. In any case, it could be possible to conduct trials with some of the existing products in the market.

Some clinical studies suggest oral rinses have enough viricide products which are effective to act against the enveloped-virus lipids. They should determine whether they work the same for the SARS-CoV-2 membrane. Researchers highlight the need to do this kind of research urgently.

“We need to check if by mimicking the time and conditions of gargling with products with a series of compounds with viricide activity we can inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus”, notes Bosch. “However -he continues-, keeping social distance and setting transmission barriers, such as the use of masks and gloves, under some conditions, is still the most effective method to stop spreading the virus”.


Article reference::

Valerie B. O’Donnell et al. "Potential role of oral rinses targeting the viral lipid envelope in SARS-CoV-2 infection". Function, May, 2020. Doi: 10.1093/function/zqaa002


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