A new study that claims that the mouthwash may help inactivate human coronaviruses in 30 seconds has sparked an onslaught of controversy as doctors and experts worldwide have cited research and theories to debunk the myth. Offering an alternative approach to stem the novel COVID-19 infection, scientists at Cardiff University explained that oral rinses can kill the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen in the saliva and provide an additional level of protection against coronaviruses.
The claim, however, has been negated by the scientists involved in the research of the therapeutical drugs and the vaccine. While the study suggests that the mouthwashes contain at least 0.07 per cent cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC), which can effectively kill the pathogen, the experts have argued that there is no evidence yet to substantiate that theory.
In an interview with CNN, Dr. Graham Snyder, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that even while mouthwashes kill germs, they are not the answer to the pandemic. The ingredients of the mouthwash are incapable of stopping the source of the coronavirus, and despite some data out there that the mouthwash can inhibits replication, it might not be effective to eliminate the disease altogether, Snyder said in a televised discussion.
Meanwhile, on social media, many scientists claimed that the alcohol, chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide content in the mouthwash can kill the virus in the mouth at the entry point without it being contracted in the lungs. However, Snyder pointed out that because the coronavirus replicated in the upper respiratory tract, the mouthwash wouldn't stop someone from catching or transmitting the infection.
It is still in your nose, in the fluid on your vocal cords, and in your lung airways, a researcher at the University of Maryland, US, Donald Milton told CNN. Further, trashing the claims about mouthwash, Milton said that the virus settled in the vocal cords and reached the lung airways from the air, thus explaining that the mouth wasn't the only entry point to contract the disease. However, research published in the Journal of Medical Virology noted that the common over-the-counter nasal rises and mouthwashes projected some ability to inactivate high concentrations of human coronaviruses based on an experiment conducted in a lab. However, health experts at US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) argued that most people got infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives, but those were different from the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
According to Carlos Malvestutto, M.D., infectious diseases expert at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, mouthwash could actually be effective against the novel coronavirus that caused COVID-19. “If an uninfected person gargles with mouthwash in the morning, one could expect that the mouth may be free of specific coronaviruses for a period of time, but that’s likely about 10 minutes,” he said in the study.