Scientists are now calling for urgent research into whether normal mouthwash, which is readily available within stores, could be effective in reducing the transmission of coronavirus during the early stages of the infection.
Cardiff University has led the research and has examined whether mouthwash could damage the outer lipid (fatty) membrane that envelopes the virus which then inactivates it.
A number of studies have shown that mouthwash contains low levels of ethanol, povidone-iodine or cetylyridnium which are able to interfere with the fatty membranes covering the viruses.
The new research believes and suggests that Covid-19 might have the same similarly which has resulted in the team to call for urgent research.
Now researchers will investigate the next steps by examining different mouthwash formulations in labs during clinical trials, the next stage will be population-based trials.
Lead author Professor Valerie O’Donnell, co-director of Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute, said: “Safe use of mouthwash – as in gargling – has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK.
“In test tube experiments and limited clinical studies, some mouthwashes contain enough of known virucidal ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar enveloped viruses.”
She added: “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.