According to a new report, mouthwash has the potential to protect against COVID-19 infection because it can kill the coronavirus before it can infect human cells. The report states that coronaviruses belong to the class of enveloped viruses, this means that coronaviruses are covered by a fatty layer that is vulnerable to certain types of chemicals.
A group of international researchers says that mouthwash could help destroy the outermost layer or the envelope of the virus, thus preventing its replication in the mouth and throat. The scientists stated that there is an urgent need to test the full effectiveness of mouthwash in lab trials, but there is no assurance that it would be successful.
The World Health Organization or WHO said that there is still no evidence that using mouthwash will help protect you from coronavirus infection. The authors of the study do not say that current mouthwash that can be bought in stores can prevent COVID-19, but they did imply that further research into the chemicals found in mouthwash could help.
The study authors, led by Cardiff University, wrote in Function and stated that oral rinses are an under-researched area of major clinical need. The team is backed by lipid specialists, virologists, and healthcare experts from Cardiff University's School of Medicine. They are also backed by Universities of Nottingham. Ottawa, Colorado, Barcelona, and Cambridge's Babraham Institute.
Professor O'Donnell, co-director of Cardiff University's Systems Immunity Research Institute and lead author of the study said that using mouthwash has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the United Kingdom. There were test-tube experiments done, as well as limited clinical studies and it shows that some mouthwashes have enough virucidla ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar enveloped viruses.
According to Professor O'Donnell, what they do not know yet is whether existing mouthwashes are active against the lipid membrane of COVID-19. Their review of the literature suggests that research is needed as a matter of urgency to know its potential for use against COVID-19. The effectiveness of mouthwash is still under major clinical need and they hope that research projects will be quickly mobilized to further evaluate the case.
What are the ingredients of mouthwashes?
The ingredients of dental mouthwashes are chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, hydrogen peroxide, and povidone-iodine, and all have the potential to prevent infection and several deserve clinical evaluation. The chemicals disrupt the outer lipid membrane of the COVID-19. The lipid envelope helps several viruses bind to human cells while avoiding the host immune system.
Glycoproteins, or spike proteins, on the surface of the envelope, identifies and binds to receptor sites on the cell membrane of the host. and it allows infection. Mouthwash chemicals could modify the ability of the spike glycoproteins to interact with receptors on cells.
The researchers added that there had been no discussion about the potential role of damaging the fatty membrane as a possible way to inactivate the virus. It shows that the lipid envelope does not change when viruses mutate, which means that mouthwash could still work against any coronavirus.
The World Health Organization debunked the suggestion that mouthwash can help prevent infection brought by COVID-19. The WHO said that some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. But it does not mean that it can protect you from coronavirus infection.
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