New Delhi (NVI): In the fight against the coronavirus, certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, according to a recent study.
The study carried out by the Penn State College of Medicine, published in the Journal of Medical Virology indicated that some of these products might be useful for reducing the viral load, or amount of virus, in the mouth after infection.
This may also help to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The researchers tested several oral and nasopharyngeal rinses in a laboratory setting for their ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, which are similar in structure to SARS-CoV-2.
The products evaluated include a 1 per solution of baby shampoo, a neti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers and mouthwashes, as per the study.
During the study, the researchers found that several of the nasal and oral rinses had a strong ability to neutralize human coronavirus, which suggests that these products may have the potential to reduce the amount of virus spread by people who are COVID-19 positive.
Craig Meyers, a professor at Penn State College of Medicine, “While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed. The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines.”
The researchers team used a test to replicate the interaction of the virus in the nasal and oral cavities with the rinses and mouthwashes.
They treated solutions containing a strain of human coronavirus, which served as a readily available and genetically similar alternative for SARS-CoV-2, with the baby shampoo solutions, various peroxide antiseptic rinses and various brands of mouthwash.
The researchers also allowed the solutions to interact with the virus for 30 seconds, one minute and two minutes, before diluting the solutions to prevent further virus inactivation.
Meyers also said the outer envelopes of the human coronavirus tested and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically similar so the research team hypothesizes that a similar amount of SARS-CoV-2 may be inactivated upon exposure to the solution.
To measure how much virus was inactivated, the researchers placed the diluted solutions in contact with cultured human cells. They counted how many cells remained alive after a few days of exposure to the solution and used that number to calculate the amount of human coronavirus that was inactivated as a result of exposure to the mouthwash or oral rinse that was tested, the study noted.
Moreover, the 1 per cent baby shampoo solution, which is often used by head and neck doctors to rinse the sinuses, inactivated greater than 99.9 per cent of human coronavirus after a two-minute contact time. Several of the mouthwash and gargle products also were effective at inactivating the infectious virus.
Many inactivated greater than 99.9 per cent of virus after only 30 seconds of contact time and some inactivated 99.99 per cent of the virus after 30 seconds, the researchers said.
According to Meyers, the results with mouthwashes are promising and add to the findings of a study showing that certain types of oral rinses could inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in similar experimental conditions.
He further said the next step to expand upon these results is to design and conduct clinical trials that evaluate whether products like mouthwashes can effectively reduce viral load in COVID-19 positive patients.
Meyers also noted, “People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with.”
“Certain professions including dentists and other health care workers are at a constant risk of exposure. Clinical trials are needed to determine if these products can reduce the amount of virus COVID-positive patients or those with high-risk occupations may spread while talking, coughing or sneezing. Even if the use of these solutions could reduce transmission by 50 per cent, it would have a major impact, he said.