Mouthwash and oral rinses may combat coronavirus

An effective defense against the coronavirus may already be in your medicine cabinet.

The latest research has revealed that many mouthwashes and oral rinses were shown to inactivate the virus at a rate of 99% or more after only 30 seconds of gargling, and up to 99.9% after 30 seconds.

Other handy solutions include gargling a mixture of 1% baby shampoo and water, which curbed more than 99.9% of the coronavirus following a two-minute rinse.

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine tested a variety of mouth and nasal rinses, which included peroxide mouth-sore cleansers and a neti pot, too.

“People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with,” said study author Craig Meyers, a researcher at Penn State Cancer Institute whose work was published in the Journal of Medical Virology.

In a Penn State press release, he continued, “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%, it would have a major impact.”

Nasal and oral cavities are thought to be the primary checkpoint for COVID-19 before traveling into your lungs and throughout your body. Although their test did not use the current SARS-CoV-2 strain, an experiment conducted with a genetically similar type of human coronavirus aimed “to replicate the interaction of the virus in the nasal and oral cavities with the rinses and mouthwashes.”

During each trial, researchers allowed the solutions to work on the virus for various increments of time: 30 seconds, one minute and two minutes.

To assess the strength of their method, the scientists then combined the viral mouthwash solutions with human cells, and allowed a few days to commingle. The mixtures were then measured for how many human cells survived exposure to the diluted virus — revealing the degree to which the coronavirus was rendered inert by the oral rinses.

“While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed,” said Meyers, whose study adds evidence to prior similar findings. “The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines.”

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