A group of scientists has proposed that there are chances that mouthwash could be able to break down the layers of the coronavirus. The World Health Organization has, however, been dismissive of the effects of mouthwash. "There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus," WHO said on its official Facebook page in an answer to a query: Can gargling mouthwash protect you from infection with the 2019-nCoV?
A research team led by Cardiff University, however, is now calling for urgent studies in the "under-researched area of major clinical need" the readily available mouthwash could have the potential to stop early transmission by destroying COVID-19 infection in its early stages.
The UK team of researchers conducted a review of the scientific research claim that the coronavirus is enveloped with an outer fatty (lipid) membrane that can be destroyed using an oral rinse or mouthwash.
The researchers now want more studies to focus on how the COVID-19 virus can be made inactive in the throat through oral rinsing or gargling. There are existing studies in which it has been found that agents commonly found in oral rinses – such as low amounts of ethanol, povidone-iodine, and cetylpyridinium – do have the capacity to destroy the lipid membranes of enveloped viruses.
In the case of coronavirus, there has been no study yet that indicates if the mouthwash can disrupt the coronavirus, hence it is imperative that everyone continues to follow the existing protocols and not view mouthwash as a solution, just yet, it is advised by the researchers.
The researchers published their review in the Function journal and highlighted that urgent studies focusing on the potential to evaluate if existing or special mouthwash formulations specifically for coronavirus help in destroying the coronavirus in the early stage itself. The researchers have requested for trials and studies to this end.
Though till now gargling mouthwash has not been considered by UK public health bodies, in lab experiments, there is proof that these mouthwashes and oral rinses do contain virucidal ingredients that target lipids in similar enveloped viruses Lead author Professor Valerie O'Donnell, co-director of Cardiff University's Systems Immunity Research Institute wrote in the journal.
With the review being under-researched, the authors have urged the public to follow the UK government's guidelines including washing hands and social distancing.