As time continues to move forward we are learning some pretty interesting things about the coronavirus that we’re facing right now. While this pandemic has wreaked havoc, research on it in so many ways have been underway since it became an issue. 

According to Fox News, a new study from researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine has figured something mind-blowing out. They have found that oral rinses might really come in handy as they can on some level ‘inactivate coronaviruses.’ While the small difference it makes might not sound like much, it could really be important moving forward. 

News.PSU wrote as follows on these findings:

Certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may have the ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, according to a Penn State College of Medicine research study. The results indicate that some of these products might be useful for reducing the viral load, or amount of virus, in the mouth after infection and may help to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Craig Meyers, distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology and obstetrics and gynecology, led a group of physicians and scientists who tested several oral and nasopharyngeal rinses in a laboratory setting for their ability to inactivate human coronaviruses, which are similar in structure to SARS-CoV-2. The products evaluated include a 1% solution of baby shampoo, a neti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers, and mouthwashes.

The researchers found that several of the nasal and oral rinses had a strong ability to neutralize human coronavirus, which suggests that these products may have the potential to reduce the amount of virus spread by people who are COVID-19-positive.

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

Meyers and colleagues used a test to replicate the interaction of the virus in the nasal and oral cavities with the rinses and mouthwashes. Nasal and oral cavities are major points of entry and transmission for human coronaviruses. They treated solutions containing a strain of human coronavirus, which served as a readily available and genetically similar alternative for SARS-CoV-2, with the baby shampoo solutions, various peroxide antiseptic rinses and various brands of mouthwash. They allowed the solutions to interact with the virus for 30 seconds, one minute and two minutes, before diluting the solutions to prevent further virus inactivation. According to Meyers, the outer envelopes of the human coronavirus tested and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically similar so the research team hypothesizes that a similar amount of SARS-CoV-2 may be inactivated upon exposure to the solution.

To measure how much virus was inactivated, the researchers placed the diluted solutions in contact with cultured human cells. They counted how many cells remained alive after a few days of exposure to the viral solution and used that number to calculate the amount of human coronavirus that was inactivated as a result of exposure to the mouthwash or oral rinse that was tested. The results were published in the Journal of Medical Virology.

The 1% baby shampoo solution, which is often used by head and neck doctors to rinse the sinuses, inactivated greater than 99.9% of human coronavirus after a two-minute contact time. Several of the mouthwash and gargle products also were effective at inactivating the infectious virus. Many inactivated greater than 99.9% of virus after only 30 seconds of contact time and some inactivated 99.99% of the virus after 30 seconds.  

While yes, a vaccine is still needed this in itself is something that can help us all when it comes to reducing transmission which according to Craig Meyers (Penn State Professor/Lead on this study) is very important. Sure, mixing baby shampoo, nasal rinse, and other things of the sort might not sound ideal, it could benefit us all in big ways when you really think about it. That being especially if you’re testing positive and are not the only person in your household to help protect others, wouldn’t you agree?

The abstract of the study noted above goes as follows:

The emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic has created an unprecedented healthcare, social, and economic disaster. Wearing of masks and social distancing can significantly decrease transmission and spread, however, due to circumstances such as medical or dental intervention and personal choice these practices have not been universally adopted. Additional strategies are required to lessen transmission. Nasal rinses and mouthwashes, which directly impact the major sites of reception and transmission of human coronaviruses (HCoV), may provide an additional level of protection against the virus. Common over‐the‐counter nasal rinses and mouthwashes/gargles were tested for their ability to inactivate high concentrations of HCoV using contact times of 30 s, 1 min, and 2 min. Reductions in titers were measured by using the tissue culture infectious dose 50 (TCID50) assay. A 1% baby shampoo nasal rinse solution inactivated HCoV greater than 99.9% with a 2‐min contact time. Several over‐the‐counter mouthwash/gargle products including Listerine and Listerine‐like products were highly effective at inactivating infectious virus with greater than 99.9% even with a 30‐s contact time. In the current manuscript we have demonstrated that several commonly available healthcare products have significant virucidal properties with respect to HCoV.

What do you think about all of this? Would you use more mouthwash and things of that sort if it helped protect the people you care the most about? I for one definitely would.

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