The team stated that their research demonstrated that mouthwash has the potential to destroy the outermost layer or ‘envelope’ of the virus, preventing it from replicating in the mouth and throat in the early stages of an infection.
But, just how seriously should we be taking this claim? Here is everything you need to know.
Does mouthwash kill coronavirus?
Although the scientists are calling for urgent research to test the effectiveness of mouthwash in trials, there is currently no clinical evidence to show that it would be successful.
In February, the World Health Organisation (WHO) responded to claims that gargling mouthwash could protect you from infection, stating: “There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus
“Some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth
”However, this does not mean they protect you from 2019-nCoV infection.“
Why do scientists claim mouthwash might be effective?
The researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, along with academics at the universities of Nottingham, Colorado, Ottawa, Barcelona and Cambridge’s Babraham Institute, claim that mouthwash may be able to damage the coronavirus membrane and reduce infection rates.
Professor Valerie O’Donnell, lead author of the study, said that in test tube experiments and limited clinical studies, some mouthwashes were shown to contain enough of known virucidal ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar enveloped viruses.
— Cardiff University (@cardiffuni) May 14, 2020
However, the authors stressed that it is not yet known whether this would be the case for the coronavirus and concluded that people should continue to follow government health guidance.
“Our review of the literature suggests that research is needed as a matter of urgency to determine its potential for use against this new virus,” O’Donnell explained.
“This is an under-researched area of major clinical need – and we hope that research projects will be quickly mobilised to further evaluate this.”
What can you do to protect yourself from coronavirus?
The government has issued advice on how best to protect yourself from Covid-19.
This includes staying at home as much as possible, working from home if you can, limiting contact with other people, staying 2m away from other people if you go out and washing your hands regularly.
The guidelines also advise people to wear a facial covering when in enclosed spaces such as using public transport or shopping.
NHS advice on avoiding spreading Covid-19 includes covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze, as well as washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds when you arrive home after being out.
Anyone with a high temperature or a new, continuous cough is also being asked to stay at home for seven days, and avoid going to GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals.