COVID-19 has emerged as one of the most infectious members of the coronavirus family, having killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Most countries have now head to deal with thousands of cases and are now endeavouring to reduce transmission in any meaningful way, with some surprise solutions surfacing.
Can mouthwash reduce coronavirus transmission?
Many people in the UK are currently running low on soap and hand sanitiser, with most shops still running low due to COVID-19.
As such, people have turned to some bizarre methods of virus protection, including making their own hand wash with household products.
Now, scientists are investigating as to whether mouthwash could disrupt the virus.
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Scientists with Cardiff University are investigating as to whether readily available mouthwash can prevent the virus from taking root.
They believe the solution’s low levels of ethanol, povidone-iodine or cetylpyridinium could interfere with viruses fatty membranes.
If enveloping membranes become damaged, the virus falls apart, meaning mouthwash could provide the same level of protection as soap.
The Cardiff team has now called for further research into the possibility.
Future investigations would look at the spectrum of mouthwash formulae and their respective effects on the virus in a laboratory setting.
Professor Valerie O’Donnell, co-director of Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute and author of the latest research, said some mouthwashes contain “virucidal” ingredients.
She added scientists should set about research as a “matter of urgency”.
Professor O’Donnell said: “Safe use of mouthwash – as in gargling – has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK.”
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“In test-tube experiments and limited clinical studies, some mouthwashes contain enough of known virucidal ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar enveloped viruses.
“What we don’t know yet is whether existing mouthwashes are active against the lipid membrane of SARS-CoV-2.
“Our review of the literature suggests that research is needed as a matter of urgency to determine its potential for use against this new virus.
“This is an under-researched area of major clinical need – and we hope that research projects will be quickly mobilised to further evaluate this.”
Scientists have warned a “mutated” strain of COVID-19 may have caused the surge of cases and deaths in Europe.
Researchers at the US-based Los Alamos National Laboratory detected a mutation in COVID-19 named Spike D614G, which they said was of “urgent concern”.
They said their findings suggest the mutated strain has become the most prevalent in the world and could infect people twice.
Study lead author Dr Bette Korber said: “The story is worrying, as we see a mutated form of the virus very rapidly emerging, and over the month of March becoming the dominant pandemic form.”
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