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More reasons to use mouthwash: Scientists say it can reduce COVID transmission

The use of mouthwash has always been promoted among the medical community as a way to prevent bad breath and remove dirt from the mouth. However, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that is hitting the world, scientists have discovered that it has a more transcendental effect, since it could prevent the contagion of thousands of people.

A group of European doctors affiliated with the University of Bochum in Germany, the European Bioinformatics Center and other leading laboratories, published a study on Friday demonstrating the efficacy of search rinses in reducing the transmission of the new coronavirus.

The study, published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, revealed the results of the experiment conducted with eight brands of commercial mouthwash that contain antiseptic chemicals, such as alcohol, that have been shown to be effective in eradicating COVID-19 particles.

The scientists explained that a significant viral load of COVID-19 resides in the nasal cavity and throat of people, which leads to its main form of transmission being through particles of saliva or nasal flows expelled when speaking or breathing.

“The stem cell that produces SARS-CoV-2 is highly susceptible to these chemical agents that reduce its membranes (…) In this context, mouth and nasal rinses were shown to reduce the active number of viruses in aerosol form in the oral cavity and consequently the risk of transmission of COVID-19 ”, explains the study.

But there is an important factor, for the mouthwash to inactivate the virus, it must be used 30 seconds after exposure to contaminated fluids.

The famous brand Listerine, whose products were part of the study, said through release that, although “it is a mouthwash for daily use that has been shown to kill 99.9% of the germs that cause bad breath, tartar and gingivitis; it has not been tested against coronavirus and was not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19. “

At the conclusion of the experiment, the scientists called for their study to serve as proof that an oral evaluation and decontamination of patients could prevent the transmission of the virus to healthcare workers who care for them.

Salomé Ramírez works as an intern with the real-time team. She graduated from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico with a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism and a minor in Psychology. Also, she is part of the first class of the Gallivan Journalism Program at the University of Notre Dame.