By Natalie Williams •
Published: 06 Dec 2021 • 21:51
A new study in America has revealed that a piece of innovative chewing gum may be effective at reducing Covid transmission, which could provide a new weapon to curb the spread of the disease.
A collaborative scientific journey between researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, The Wistar Institute, and Fraunhofer USA has determined that a novel chewing gum containing a plant-grown protein can trap the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It reduces the amount of the virus found in saliva and might help in reducing Covid transmission.
The findings of their study can be found in the journal Molecular Therapy. The outcome of this study may help devise an effective new weapon for battling the pandemic.
Henry Daniell, the leader of the study from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine, said: “SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs or speaks some of that virus can be expelled and reach others. This gum offers an opportunity to neutralise the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of Covid transmission.”
The COVID-19 vaccinations have helped to decrease the amount of hospital treatment, reducing the need for medical intervention and the death rate is much lower. However, Covid transmission still has not been eradicated. We all know that double vaccinated people can catch the virus twice or are susceptible to new strains.
Collman, a virologist and pulmonary and critical care doctor, said: “Henry contacted me and asked if we had samples to test his approach, what kind of samples would be appropriate to test, and whether we could internally validate the level of SARS-CoV-2 virus in the saliva samples. That led to a cross-school collaboration building on our microbiome studies.” He went on to say “Henry’s approach of making the proteins in plants and using them orally to prevent Covid transmission is inexpensive, hopefully scalable; it really is clever.”
Daniell commented: “We are already using masks and other physical barriers to reduce the chance of Covid transmission. This gum could be used as an additional tool in that fight.”
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