(ORDO NEWS) — A new study found that a number of common household items, including mouthwash, nasal rinses, and even shampoo, inactivate a form of human coronavirus.
Before we go any further, it’s worth noting that no one believes that mouthwash is a kind of silver bullet that can protect you from a virus that has killed over 1 million people.
First, new experiments were carried out in the laboratory using cultured human cells in solutions. In other words, scientists have not yet tested the effects of products like mouthwash on coronaviruses in humans.
It is also worth noting that in this study, scientists used a form of coronavirus called HCoV – 229e, not SARS-CoV-2, which is a specific coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease.
Since both viruses are genetically similar, the results of the experiment are expected to be broadly the same, but this is another reason not to think that using mouthwash in real life offers any protective benefits, since this has not actually been demonstrated.
However, scientists are calling for more research on how foods such as mouthwash can interact with SARS-CoV-2 and inactivate them due to the presence of chemicals known to destroy viral membranes.
A team from Pennsylvania State University exposed human liver cells in culture containing HCoV-229e to mouthwash, nasal rinse, and shampoo diluted to 1%.
Tests showed that all products were effective in inactivating the virus, although the extent of exposure varied from product to product and depended on how long the products were in contact with the virus.
“With contact times of 1 and 2 minutes, a 1% baby shampoo solution was able to inactivate more than 99 percent and more than 99.9 percent or more of the virus, respectively,” the researchers write in their paper.
Among mouth rinses, many of the products tested inactivated 99.99% of the virus after 30 seconds, and when the incubation time increased (1 and 2 minutes), researchers could not detect any remaining virus in the cells.
“Clinical trials are needed to determine if these products can reduce the number of viral COVID-positive patients,” says microbiologist Craig Meyers, the study’s first author.
“Even if using these solutions can reduce transmission by 50 percent, it will have a major impact on the spread of the virus.”
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