Covid-19 virus: Mouthwash and nasal rinses - what the latest science says

  • Researchers investigated mouthwash and nasal rinses to determine if it inactivates human coronaviruses
  • Products evaluated included neti pots, peroxide, mouthwashes, and a baby shampoo solution
  • These measures could help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2

A study claims that certain oral antiseptics and mouthwashes may be able to inactivate human coronaviruses.

The study was conducted at Penn State College of Medicine and researchers claim that some products might be “useful for reducing the viral load, or amount of virus, in the mouth after infection”.

They add that it may help reduce the spread of the new coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – which causes Covid-19.

Methods to reduce transmission 

Craig Meyers, a professor of microbiology and immunology, along with obstetrics and gynaecology, tested many oral and nasal rinses in a laboratory setting to determine their ability to inactivate human coronaviruses.

Products evaluated included the neti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers, mouthwashes, and a 1% solution of baby shampoo.

“While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed.

“The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines,” Meyers said in a university article.

Meyers and his team used a test to copy how the virus behaves when it contaminates your nasal and oral cavities.

They used the rises and mouthwashes and allowed each solution to interact with the virus for intervals of 30 seconds, one minute and two minutes. They then diluted solutions to prevent further virus inactivation.

Mouthwash products 'quite promising'

The researchers claim that since the “outer envelopes of the human coronavirus tested and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically similar, a similar amount of SARS-CoV-2 may be inactivated upon exposure to the solution”.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Virology.

Researchers found that many solutions worked towards inactivating the human coronavirus, and that several mouthwash products were quite promising.

Meyer added that people who test positive for Covid-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with.

“Certain professions, including dentists and other health care workers are at a constant risk of exposure.

“Clinical trials are needed to determine if these products can reduce the amount of the virus Covid-positive patients or those with high-risk occupations may spread while talking, coughing or sneezing. Even if the use of these solutions could reduce transmission by 50%, it would have a major impact,” said Meyer.

Image credit: Mudasssar Iqbal, Pixabay

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
27% - 9951 votes
73% - 26298 votes