Findings from a new study suggests that mouthwash can be used to stem the tide against the spread of COVID-19 by limiting infections from person to person.
The study published in a Scientific Journal, Function, notes that the coronavirus thrives and replicates in salivary glands as well as the throat of Humans. It also observes that the virus is enveloped, possessing an outer lipid membrane built from the cell of its hosts.
SARS-CoV-2 is an “enveloped virus,” one that has an “outer lipid membrane derived from the host cell from which it buds.”
The spike proteins on the envelope of the COVID-19 virus allow them link up with receptor sites on the membrane of a cell, resulting in an infection.
The study suggests that the chemicals inside a mouthwash is able to I disrupt the membranes of enveloped virus cells.
A regular mouthwash contains ethanol, providone-iodine, and cetylpyridinium amongst others. The study however stated that more research was needed to discover how these components retain the ability to interact with bio-membranes in the mouth.
According to the lead author of the study, Professor Valerie O’Donnell of the University of Cardiff,
“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.”
She stated that it had not been properly tested yet so people should to continue to follow the guidelines laid down by health officials till the theory has been fully tested.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had also warned back in February that although mouthwash kills some bacteria in the saliva for a few minutes, it is not effective in preventing COVID-19.
“Some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. However this doesn’t mean they protect you from COVID-19 infection.”
A spokesperson for the WHO said at the time.
Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Listerine mouthwash also issued a statement saying their product does not kill the virus.
“[Listerine] mouthwash has not been tested against the coronavirus and is not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19.
“Consumers should follow the preventive measures issued by the World Health Organization including washing hands frequently, maintaining social distance and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.”