A group of scientists in Britain has raised the potential of mouthwash to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The scientists said previous studies have shown that agents commonly found in mouthwashes – such as low amounts of ethanol, povidone-iodine and cetylpyridinium – could disrupt the lipid membranes of several enveloped viruses.
However, they stress that it is not yet known whether this could also be the case for this new coronavirus, advising people to continue to follow Government guidance.
SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus with an outer fatty (lipid) membrane.
However, according to the researchers, so far there has been no discussion about the potential role of damaging this membrane as a possible way to inactivate the virus in the throat.
They have therefore called for urgent research into whether readily available mouthwash could be effective in reducing the spread of coronavirus, Mirror reported.
The researchers assessed existing mouthwash formulations for their potential ability to disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 lipid envelope – and suggested that several deserve clinical evaluation.
Publishing their review in the Function journal, the authors wrote:
“We highlight that already published research on other enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses, directly supports the idea that further research is needed on whether oral rinsing could be considered as a potential way to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”
They said research to determine the potential of this approach could include evaluating existing – or specifically tailored – formulations of mouthwash in the lab and then in clinical trials.
Monitored population-based trials could be undertaken with appropriate commercially available brands, the researchers added.
Recently a top UK dentist also suggested that people should brush their teeth before leaving home as it offers protection against the virus.