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Can gargling lower spread of coronavirus? Here's what scientists say

Can gargling lower spread of coronavirus? Here's what scientists say

Gargling with a mouthwash cannot inhibit the production of viruses in the cells, but could reduce the viral load in the short term, says researcher from Ruhr University Bochum

The study, however, warned that mouthwashes are not suitable for treating COVID-19 infections The study, however, warned that mouthwashes are not suitable for treating COVID-19 infections

As scientists across the world continue to search for ways to contain the spread of coronavirus, a recent finding suggests that gargling with commercially available mouthwashes reduce the quantities of viral particles in the mouth and the throat. A report published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases says that gargling with these products may possibly reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission over the short term, reported PTI.

The study, however, warned that mouthwashes are not suitable for treating COVID-19 infections or protecting oneself against the deadly virus.

As per the researchers, including those from Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, high quantities of the virus particles can be detected in the oral cavity and throat of infected coronavirus patients. They claimed that the findings might help minimise the risk of virus transmission, and potentially help develop protocols for dental treatments as the main route of transmission of the coronavirus involves 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.

"The findings support the idea that oral rinsing might reduce the viral load of saliva and could thus lower the transmission of SARS-CoV-2," the researchers said.

"Our findings clearly advocate the evaluation of selected formulations in clinical context to systematically evaluate the decontamination and tissue health of the oral cavity in patients and healthcare workers to potentially prevent virus transmission," the study noted.

The findings were based on the test done on eight mouthwashes with different ingredients that are available in pharmacies in Germany. Each mouthwash with virus particles was mixed with virus particles and a substance which was intended to recreate the effect of saliva in the mouth. The mixture was then shook for 30 seconds to simulate the effect of gargling, and was tested in Vero E6 cells, which, according to the researchers, are "particularly receptive" to SARS-CoV-2, to determine the quantities of the virus particles.

The researchers also treated the virus suspensions with cell culture medium instead of the mouthwash before adding them to the lab-grown cells to validate the efficacy of the mouthwashes.

The study finds that the tested preparations reduced the initial virus count, but its duration remained to be confirmed in clinical practice. According to the researchers, mouthwashes are not suitable for treating COVID-19.

"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.

With PTI inputs

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Published on: Aug 11, 2020, 6:20 PM IST
Posted by: Chitranjan kumar, Aug 11, 2020, 6:20 PM IST