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Researchers: Mouthwash may 'disrupt' coronavirus, clinical evaluations should begin. But WHO doesn't buy it.

'There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus,' the WHO says

Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Researchers say mouthwash may "disrupt" transmission of the coronavirus and that clinical evaluations should commence, according to a manuscript accepted by academic journal Function.

But the World Health Organization indicates "there is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus."

What are the details?

The researchers note that "emerging studies increasingly demonstrate the importance of the throat and salivary glands as sites of virus replication and transmission in early COVID-19 disease," adding that the virus' cell is covered by an outer membrane that's "highly sensitive to agents that disrupt" it.

"There has been no discussion about the potential role of oral rinsing in preventing transmission," the authors continue. "Here, we review known mechanisms of viral lipid membrane disruption by widely available dental mouthwash components that include ethanol, chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, hydrogen peroxide and povidone-iodine. We also assess existing formulations for their potential ability to disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 lipid envelope, based on their concentrations of these agents, and conclude that several deserve clinical evaluation."

They conclude that "already published research on other enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses, directly support the idea that oral rinsing should be considered as a potential way to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2" and that it's "an under-researched area of major clinical need."

Function — a publication of the American Physiological Society — says it "aims to be a highly selective journal, publishing major advances that extend physiological understanding of biological function and the changes associated with disease states."

What does the World Health Organization have to say?

The WHO doesn't buy notions that mouthwash helps stave off the coronavirus, as a Facebook graphic from February illustrates:

On the other hand...

A few things to keep in mind with respect to the WHO:

  • In the early stages of the pandemic, the organization repeated the Chinese government's claims that COVID-19 was not spread through human-to-human transmission.
  • President Donald Trump cut funding to the WHO in April over its purported role in repeating China's lies and misinformation about COVID-19.
  • The WHO has remained under scrutiny after reportedly botching its initial response to the pandemic.
  • And the CIA believes Chinese officials pressured the WHO to not alert the global community about the virus' dangers early on.
One last thing…
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