Two Mouthwashes found to be Effective against COVID-19

Researchers at the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine have found evidence that two types of mouthwashes disrupt the COVID-19 virus under laboratory conditions and prevent it from replicating in a human cell. This study is published in the journal Pathogens.

The study found that Listerine and the prescription mouthwash Chlorhexidine disrupted the virus within seconds after being diluted to concentrations that would mimic actual use. The study conducted in the lab using concentrations of the mouthwash and the time it would take to contact tissues to replicate conditions found in the mouth.

The study found two other types of mouthwash showed promise in potentially providing some protection in preventing viral transmission: Betadine, which contains povidone-iodine, and Peroxal, which contains hydrogen peroxide. However, only Listerine and chlorhexidine disrupted the virus with little impact on skin cells inside the mouth that provide a protective barrier against the virus. 5% (v/v) dilution of Colgate Peroxyl or povidone-iodine completely blocked viral infectivity. A similar 5% (v/v) dilution of Listerine or chlorhexidine had a moderate suppressive effect on the virus, but a 50% (v/v) dilution of Listerine or chlorhexidine blocked viral infectivity completely.

Mouth rinses inactivated the virus without prolonged incubation. The active compounds in mouth rinses may block infection by altering/disrupting viral envelopes (membranes), nucleic acids, and viral proteins. Listerine, an essential oil-based mouth rinse, has been shown to inhibit infection by HIV and herpes simplex virus 1 and may reduce the infectivity of viruses by altering the hydrophobicity of the viral glycoproteins necessary for viral attachment.

Further studies on the antiviral effects of mouth rinses are needed for determining their clinical efficacy in reducing viral spread, particularly in asymptomatic individuals. 

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