Scientists say using Mouthwash could protect us against the coronavirus and urge an immediate study

ACCORDING to a new report, mouthwash has the potential to protect against Covid-19 infection by killing the coronavirus before it can infect human cells, and scientists are urging the government to commission a study immediately.

Coronaviruses belong to the class of ‘enveloped viruses,’ meaning they are covered by a fatty layer that is vulnerable to certain chemicals such as those found in mouthwash products.

A team of international researchers say mouthwash could destroy the outermost layer or ‘envelope’ of the virus, preventing its replication in the mouth and throat. The scientists say there is an urgent need to test the effectiveness of mouthwash in trials, although there is currently no clinical evidence that it would be successful.

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

The study authors, led by Cardiff University, say oral rinses are an ‘under-researched area of major clinical need.’ The team is backed by virologists, lipid specialists, and healthcare experts from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, along with the universities of Nottingham, Colorado, Ottawa, Barcelona, and Cambridge’s Babraham Institute.   

‘Safe use of mouthwash – as in gargling – has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK,’ said lead author Professor O’Donnell, co-director of Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute. 

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Tony Winterburn

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