Using alcohol-based mouthwash may help reduce risk of COVID-19 infection

A recent study has suggested that alcohol-based mouthwash has the potential to destroy the lipid envelope of the COVID-19 virus. Read on to know more about the study.

As there is no cure for COVID-19, leading health authorities have been advising people to strictly follow precautions to reduce their chances of contracting the deadly virus. Clean your hands often, cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing, wear face mask, maintain safe distance from other people, etc. are some self-precautionary measures one should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus. Now, researchers have claimed that using mouthwash regularly can also help reduce risk of coronavirus infection.

According to a new study conducted by the Cardiff University School of Medicine, publicly available mouthwashes have the potential to destroy the lipid envelope of the COVID-19 virus. However, the team is researching further to confirm the effectiveness of oral rinsing fight against the novel coronavirus.

How The Infection Can Spread Through Mouth?

Several studies have demonstrated how the infection can be spread through throat and salivary glands. COVID-19 is an enveloped virus that is characterized by an outer lipid membrane derived from the host cell from which it develops. Also, this virus is highly sensitive to agents that disrupt lipid bio-membranes. The experts behind the study reviewed the known mechanisms of viral membrane disruption by mouthwash components that are widely available including ethanol, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, hydrogen peroxide, and povidone-iodine.

Following the SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak, scientists and researchers are trying hard to develop a vaccine to protect people from the deadly disease. But some experts opine that an effective, publicly available vaccine could take at least 12–18 months to develop. Meanwhile, some scientists are focusing on finding ways to reduce the rate of infection to controllable levels with existing drugs and hygiene products. They are encouraging people to use hygiene products like handwash, soap and sanitizer to prevent the viral infection.

Disinfectants Can Kill The Virus

The new coronavirus is an enveloped virus. This means that it creates an outer membrane by drawing on the cells of a host organism. This membrane allows the virus to replicate effectively. If this envelope is disrupted, then the spread of the virus within an organism may slow down. Using soap and water or disinfectant can disrupt this envelope and kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to studies. This is why health authorities and organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) encourage people to wash their hands and surfaces with soap or alcohol-based products regularly. Previous research into alcohol’s ability to disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 envelope has focused on products with a high alcohol content of between 60% and 70%. This is because manufacturers typically design alcohol-based products to be effective in a variety of circumstances, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Can Alcohol-Based Mouthwashes Control The Spread Of COVID-19?

The current study proposes that some publicly available mouthwashes may be able to help eradicate a lot of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Scientists have shown that the virus may increase significantly in the throat. This may mean that a COVID-19 patient is likely to have the highest concentration of the virus in that area. And with high levels of the virus in the throat, it is very easy for a person to transmit the infection through breathing, coughing, or sneezing. The researchers behind the study wanted to see if alcohol-based mouthwashes could inhibit the transmission of the virus or reduce its danger. There is little scientific evidence which explores the effects of low-alcohol concentrations on viral envelopes. They revealed that some low-alcohol products would be able to disrupt the viral envelope of SARS-CoV-2. However, the authors made it very clear that their research is speculative. They plan to carry out more studies to discover whether mouthwashes will affect the new coronavirus completely.


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