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Does mouthwashing help minimize the transmission of coronavirus?

Others are looking at current products to slow the rate of coronavirus infection, including mouthwashes and oral rinses, while some scientists focus on new COVID-19 vaccines.


Hand sanitizers and wipes based on alcohol play an important role in minimizing rates of infection. Other items, however, may also have a part to play. Scientists are looking at oral rinses and mouthwashes at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Virology, researchers found that when used by those with a coronavirus infection, multiple oral and nasal solutions could lower the risk of viral transmission.

The research was led by Craig Meyers, a microbiology and immunology and obstetrics and gynecology professor. While we are waiting for the production of a vaccine, transmission reduction methods are required, “Meyers says.” “The items we reviewed are available readily and are therefore already part of the everyday routines of people.”

Testing existing products

Meyers and his colleagues used a human respiratory virus, named HCoV-229E, which is in the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV-2, to investigate. They added different products to the virus in a laboratory to determine whether they could effectively decrease viral activity.

A diluted Johnson’s Baby Shampoo nasal rinse and a CVS Health Neti Pot were part of the selected nasal products. CVS Health Peroxide Sore Mouth Cleanser, 1.5% Hydrogen Peroxide solution (Cumberland Swan Inc.), Orajel Antiseptic Rinse (Church & Dwight Co. Inc.), Betadine 5% (Alcon Laboratories Inc.), Crest Pro-Health (Procter & Gamble), Listerine Antiseptic (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.), Listerine Ultra (Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.), Equate (Equate) were the mouthwash gargling goods tested.

In three independent experiments lasting 30 seconds, 1 minute, and up to 2 minutes, researchers exposed human coronaviruses to each solution. Although most of the items selected showed some degree of impact, the neti pot had no observable impact in any of the tests.

99 percent of the coronaviruses were killed within 1 minute by the Johnson’s Baby Shampoo nasal rinse solution and 99.9 percent within 2 minutes. The coronaviruses were reduced by Crest Pro-Health from 99.9 percent to over 99.99 percent.

Listerine Antiseptic, which managed to minimize the virus by over 99.99 percent after 2 minutes, was the most impactful medication. Overall , the best results were provided by the Listerine and Listerine-like mouthwashes.

Similar results released in July 2020 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases further confirmed the findings. The authors determined in this earlier study that routine oral rinsing by those with a coronavirus infection could decrease the viral load in their mouths, throat, and nose. This could probably decrease the amount they may pass on to anyone with a cough or sneeze.

In addition , the research team found it fascinating that the three hydrogen peroxide products inactivated the virus at a rate of between 90 and 99 percent as the main ingredient. This finding supports previous studies in which hydrogen peroxide solutions have also been found to be successful against SARS-CoV-2.

Taken together, enough evidence is available to strongly indicate that these products could help minimize SARS-CoV-2 transmission between someone with an infection and someone without an infection.

People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may be able to spread the virus to those with whom they live, Meyers explains. Certain occupations are at constant risk of publicity, including dentists and other healthcare workers.

Study limitations

When paired with other preventative measures, the use of these over-the-counter solutions could provide an even higher level of security among the general public.

That said, there are some important aspects to consider in the analysis that could have an effect on the overall accuracy of the predicted outcome against SARS-CoV-2.

For example, as the authors clarify, “We did not use SARS-CoV-2 as the virus in this study, as it was more costly, less available, and laboratory conditions would have required biosafety level-3.”

The experiments were also done in laboratory settings rather than in human subjects. This does not reflect the true nature of the nasopharyngeal endothelial ecosystem, “as the authors describe.”

Meyers is strongly supporting possible trials for his team. With more effective testing, a comprehensive preventive approach that is simple, readily accessible, and affordable may eventually be developed.

It is also important to remember that these items do not substitute face coverings, social distancing, and other approaches, even though more research confirms the antivirus benefits of the use of mouthwash. They’ll be an extra tool.

Obianuju Chukwu

She has a degree in pharmacy and has worked in the field as a pharmacist in a hospital. Teaching, blogging, and producing scientific articles are some of her interests. She enjoys writing on various topics relating to health and medicine, including health and beauty-related natural treatments, the nutritional worth of various foods, and mental wellness.