Readily available dental mouthwashes have the potential to destroy the lipid envelope of coronaviruses, combating virus replication in the mouth and throat, according to a multidisciplinary team of researchers at the Cardiff University School of Medicine who concluded that there is an urgent need to test this approach in clinical trials.
Increasingly, the researchers said, emerging studies have demonstrated how the throat and salivary glands are virus replication and transmission sites in early COVID-19 disease. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus that is characterized by an outer lipid membrane that is derived from the host cell from which it buds.
Also, SARS-CoV-2 is highly sensitive to agents that disrupt lipid bio-membranes. However, there hasn’t been any discussion about the potential role of oral rinsing in preventing transmission, the researchers said.
The researchers 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.
Also, the researchers assessed existing formulations for their potential to disrupt the SARS-CoV-2 lipid envelope based on their concentrations of these agents, concluding that several of them merit clinical evaluation.
The lipid envelope does not vary when viruses mutate, the researchers said. If the strategy is deemed effective, the continued, it should still work against any new coronavirus strains that emerge.
The evidence review study, “Potential Role of Oral Rinses Targeting the Viral Lipid Envelope in SARS-CoV-2 Infection,” used global formulation information provided by industry partners and derived its conclusions entirely from precisely referenced original peer-review articles. It was published by Function.