Another study — which is still preliminary in nature — has found that mouthwash may be able to kill coronavirus in the mouth, potentially helping reduce one’s chance of developing COVID-19. The latest study comes from Cardiff University, where researchers have published a brief report of their findings ahead of a clinical trial to evaluate the potential benefit.
Mouthwashes are, of course, widely available in different forms. The new study found that multiple types of commonly available mouthwashes were able to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus behind COVID-19 with only 30 seconds of exposure, the same time frame found in a similar study from Penn State.
Based on the preliminary findings [PDF], certain types of mouthwash may be better able to inactivate the virus, specifically formulations of ethanol/essential oils, povidone-iodine (PVP-I), and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC). The study notes that ethanol and chlorhexidine on their own had little to no effect on inactivating the virus.
The study involved conditions that mimic the naso/oropharynx in humans, but the researchers caution that additional research is necessary to see whether these same mouthwash formulations are able to inactivate the virus in humans, not just in the lab. The latest report comes ahead of a planned clinical trial involving mouthwash and COVID-19 patients at the University Hospital of Wales.
It’s important to note that the mouthwash only potentially helps inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus in saliva; drinking it, for example, is not safe and wouldn’t help treat an infection. Rather, swishing one’s mouth with mouthwash may become a routine protective measure alongside things like wearing a mask and washing one’s hands frequently.