Mouthwash could kill coronavirus, scientists suggest, as they called for research into whether gargling the liquid has a similar effect as it does on flu.
Covid-19 is what is known as an "enveloped" virus, which has an outer fatty membrane. Previous research has suggested that agents found in mouthwash, such as low amounts of ethanol, can potentially disrupt the outer membranes of enveloped viruses.
Scientists at Cardiff University are seeking further research into the role mouthwash could play in reducing the transmission of Covid-19 after conducting a review into previous studies.
A 1995 study found that an influenza virus was "significantly impacted" when exposed to 26.9pc ethanol with essential oils, while a follow-up study in 2010 determined that a 30-second exposure to 21.6pc ethanol led to a near 100pc reduction of infectivity of an influenza strain.
"These studies provide proof-of-concept that mouthwashes containing essential oils with 21-27pc ethanol can inactivate enveloped viruses, both in the lab and in humans, with the likely mechanism being damage to the lipid envelope," researchers said.
But the researchers added there had been "no discussion" about the potential role of damaging Covid-19's membrane as a way to inactivate the virus.
The researchers assessed existing mouthwash formulas for their ability to disrupt the virus and suggested that several deserve clinical evaluation.
Lead author of the review Prof Valerie O'Donnell, who is co-director of Cardiff University's Systems Immunity Research Institute, is originally from Wicklow. She said: "Safe use of mouthwash - as in gargling - has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK.
"Our review of the literature suggests that research is needed as a matter of urgency to determine potential." (© Daily Telegraph, London)