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Fact Check: Can Mouthwash Help Prevent Covid-19 Transmission?




  • UK’s Cardiff University conducted a research looking into the “potential role of oral rinse” in fighting SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • The said study is yet to be peer-reviewed and published.
  • Researchers reminded the public to continue following recommended health measures amid the pandemic.

Can a common mouthwash kill the coronavirus in 30 seconds? This topic has been gaining some attention online as curious netizens turn to a research by UK-based Cardiff University.

Conducted by Cardiff ‘s Systems Immunity Research Institute, the said study, entitled ‘Potential role of oral rinses targeting the viral lipid envelope in SARS-CoV-2 infection,’ takes a closer look at “existing formulations for their potential ability to disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 lipid envelope, based on their concentrations of these agents.” The researchers eventually made the conclusion that “several deserve clinical evaluation.”

A closer look at mouthwash products and Covid-19

The study tells us:

“Mouthwashes vary widely in composition; however, some commercially available formulations contain ethanol at 14-27% (w/v) in the UK, Europe and US. Prompted by this, we reviewed the available scientific literature to establish whether oral treatment using ethanol-based or other types of mouthwashes could present a strategy to either dampen or reduce viral load, to potentially restrict virus transmission in the current pandemic situation, particularly for vulnerable individuals or healthcare workers.”

So can the use of mouthwash really help prevent virus transmission?

Research lead author and Cardiff University virology reader Dr. Richard Stanton said in a statement:

“This study adds to the emerging literature that several commonly available mouthwashes designed to fight gum disease can also inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (and other related coronaviruses) when tested in the laboratory under conditions that are designed to mimic the oral/nasal cavity in a test tube.”

Stanton, however, was also quick to add that their study is “not peer-reviewed and published.” meaning “it has not yet been scrutinized by other scientists as is the usual process with academic research.”

So yes, nothing is set in stone yet regarding this matter.

As Stanton also pointed out:

“People should continue to follow the preventive measures issued by the UK government, including washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance. We would encourage people to always use mouthwash safely and as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.”

The group has already submitted their research for journal publication.

Meanwhile, popular mouthwash brand Listerine addressed the subject in their website, clarifying that their product “has not been tested against the coronavirus and is not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19.”

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