Scientists are going in for new trials to examine if gargling saltwater and washing the nose with it can help weaken early symptoms of coronavirus.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh are building on a pilot study that says saline water gargling, along with "nasal irrigation", reduced the overall duration of illness in those having a common cold.
Less viral shedding leading to decreased transmission was seen in people who practiced the salt wash in the initial trial. It gathered results from 54 people with majorly rhinovirus infections and some with coronaviruses.
Experts say that some human cells use chloride ions (a sea salt component) to make hypochlorous acid, an active ingredient in bleach having antiviral properties. The treatment planned was thought to supply such cells with additional chloride ions, using saline solution.
The researchers' website recruiting people for trials said, "As COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus we do not know if nasal washout and gargling salty water will have the same effect as previously seen in other strains."
'May or May Not Benefit'
Further, it warns that after carrying out the nasal washout and gargling one may or may not get direct benefits and symptoms may or may not get better quickly as thought. Also, other people in one's household may or may not be protected from being infected.
Prof Aziz Sheikh, director of the University of Edinburgh's Usher Institute, said that it requires only salt and water with a level of understanding of the procedure. If it proves to be effective, it could be easy and inexpensive to implement widely, reports the Independent.
People who take part in the new trials should follow government advice on hygiene and self-isolation. Two groups will take part in the study, one will be asked to gargle and clear their nose with saltwater, while the other will not.
Saltwater gargling is widely practiced by people in having sore throat, but this trial is looking for its impact on the novel coronavirus