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Mouthwash may reduce the risk of COVID-19 Coronavirus transmission


Mouthwash affects the new coronavirus. Credit: © RUB, Marquard

Results from cell culture experiments show that commercially available preparations have an effect on Sars-Cov-2 virus.

Sars-Cov-2 virus can be inactivated using certain commercially available mouthwashes. This was demonstrated in cell culture experiments by virologists from the Ruhr University Bochum together with colleagues from Jena, Ulm, Duisburg-Essen, Nuremberg and Bremen. High viral load can be detected in the oral cavity and throat in some Covid-1

9 patients.

The use of mouthwashes that are effective against Sars-Cov-2 can thus help to reduce the viral load and possibly the risk of coronavirus transmission in the short term. This can, for example, be useful before dental treatments. However, rinses in the mouth are not suitable for treating Covid-19 infections or to protect you from catching the virus.

The results of the study are described by the team led by Toni Meister, Professor Stephanie Pfänder and Professor Eike Steinmann from the Bochum-based research group Molecular and Medical Virology in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, published online on July 29, 2020. A review of laboratory results in clinical trials awaits .

Eight mouthwashes in a cell culture test

The researchers tested eight mouthwashes with different ingredients available at pharmacies or pharmacies in Germany. They mixed each mouthwash with virus particles and a disruptive substance, which was intended to recreate the effect of saliva in the mouth. The mixture was then shaken for 30 seconds to simulate the effect of gargling. They then used Vero E6 cells, which are particularly susceptible to Sars-Cov-2, to determine virus titers. To assess the effectiveness of mouthwash, the researchers treated the virus suspensions with cell culture medium instead of mouthwash before adding them to the cell culture.

All tested preparations reduced the initial virus titer. Three mouthwashes were reduced to such an extent that no virus could be detected after an exposure time of 30 seconds. Whether this effect is confirmed in clinical practice and how long it lasts must be investigated in further studies.

The authors point out that mouthwashes are not suitable for the treatment of Covid-19. “Gargling with mouthwash can not inhibit the production of virus in the cells,” explains Toni Meister, “but can reduce the viral load in the short term where the greatest potential for infection comes from, namely in the oral cavity and throat – and this can be useful in some situations, for example at the dentist or under the care of Covid-19 patients. “

Ongoing clinical trials

The Bochum group is investigating the possibilities in a clinical study of the effect of mouthwash on Sars-Cov-2 virus, during which the researchers want to test whether the effect can also be detected in patients and how long it lasts. Similar studies are already underway in San Francisco; The Bochum team is in contact with the American researchers.


Reference: “Virucidal effect of various oral rinses against SARS-CoV 2”By Toni Luise Meister, Yannick Brüggemann, Daniel Todt, Carina Conzelmann, Janis A Müller, Rüdiger Groß, Jan Münch, Adalbert Krawczyk, Jörg Steinmann, Jochen Steinmann, Stephanie Pfaender and Eike Steinmann, July 29, 2020, Journal of Infectious Diseases.
DOI: 10.1093 / infdis / jiaa471

The work was funded by the European Union as part of the Horizon 2020 program (grant number 101003555) and by the Stiftung Universitätsmedizin Essen.

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