Can mouthwash actually protect against coronavirus?

According to scientists, research must urgently be done to understand whether mouthwash could be used to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Mouthwash could be able to harm the membrane of the virus and reduce the rates of infection, according to a Cardiff University research that has just been peer-reviewed.

According to the study published last Thursday in Function, a journal for science, the research points at the importance of the throat and saliva glands in the replication and transmission of the virus. 

Sars-Cov-2, which is an enveloped virus that causes Covid-19, has a lipid, or fatty membrane. According to the authors of the study, there has been “no discussion” thus far about whether causing damage to this membrane could potentially play a part in stopping the virus in the throat.

Other studies have shown that mouthwash can harm the membrane in other viruses. 

The authors noted that it is not yet certain whether this would also apply to the coronavirus.

“Safe use of mouthwash – as in gargling – has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK.

In test tube experiments and limited clinical studies, some mouthwashes contain enough of known virucidal ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar enveloped viruses.

What we don’t know yet is whether existing mouthwashes are active against the lipid membrane of Sars-CoV-2.

Our review of the literature suggests that research is needed as a matter of urgency to determine its potential for use against this new virus.

This is an under-researched area of major clinical need – and we hope that research projects will be quickly mobilised to further evaluate this,” lead author of the study, Professor Valerie O’Donnell, said.

Professor Valerie O’Donnell / Image: Cardiff University

She added:

“Mouthwash has not been tested against this new coronavirus yet.

People should continue to follow the preventive measures issued by the UK government, including washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance.

This study suggests further clinical studies could be worthwhile based on the theoretical evidence.”

What are your thoughts on this hopeful news? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article to spread some much-needed positivity on this pandemic.

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