A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases says that gargling with mouthwashes may lower the spread of Covid-19. The study says the gargling may reduce the quantities of viral particles in the mouth and throat, and possibly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission over the short term.
The results of the study are described by the team headed by Toni Meister, Professor Stephanie Pfänder and Professor Eike Steinmann from the Bochum-based Molecular and Medical Virology research group
Researchers have found that high quantities of the virus particles were present in the oral cavity and throat of some COVID-19 patients.
Researchers tested eight commercially available mouthwashes in Germany. All these mouthwashes contain different ingredients. The scientists added virus particles in each each mouthwash. A substance was also added for the purpose of recreating the effect of saliva in the mouth.
They then shook the mixture for 30 seconds to simulate the effect of gargling, and tested it in Vero E6 cells. Vero E6 cells are “particularly receptive” to SARS-CoV-2.
The study noted that three mouthwashes reduced it to such an extent that no virus could be detected after an exposure time of 30 seconds.
According to the research, main route of transmission of the virus maybe direct contact with respiratory droplets of infected individuals, produced during sneezing, coughing, or talking, and the subsequent contact to nasal, oral or ocular mucosal membranes of healthy individuals.
However, the study also warned that mouthwashes should not be used to treat COVID-19 infections. It also does not give protection from future covid infection.
“Gargling with a mouthwash cannot inhibit the production of viruses in the cells, but could 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 could be useful in certain situations, such as at the dentist or during the medical care of Covid-19 patients,” explained study co-author Toni Meister from Ruhr University Bochum.
The Bochum group is examining the possibilities of a clinical study on the efficacy of mouthwashes on Sars-Cov-2 viruses, during which the scientists 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.