SHOP-bought mouthwashes can reduce the risk of catching and spreading coronavirus, according York researchers.

Scientists from the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been involved in the “groundbreaking” study – which could help with protection against Covid-19.

The study, a collaboration between the trust and Public Health England (PHE), has shown that multiple commercially available mouthwashes reduce the level of ‘SARS-CoV-2’ – the virus that causes Covid-19 – in a laboratory setting.

Healthcare professionals are at an increased risk of infection by the virus, due to working in close proximity to patients’ airways on a regular basis.

The researchers involved in the study, which has been published in the Journal of Virology, said they wanted to establish if using a pre-procedural mouthwash reduces that risk of catching the virus and preventing its spread.

David Seymour, a consultant in oral rehabilitation involved in the study, said: “The mouthwashes, that we found can kill coronavirus in a laboratory, will now be studied in patients.

“This will tell us how well the mouthwashes perform in the real world and also how long the effects last.

“This simple procedure could be a useful mitigation against coronavirus for the dental sector and potentially other close contact sectors.”

The team, including Mr Seymour and Peter Nixon from the hospital trust, along with Dr Marian Killip of Public Health England, has shown multiple over the counter mouthwashes can reduce levels of SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting.

The best performing mouthwashes will now be taken forward and used in a randomised controlled clinical trial – to see how effective the mouthwashes are in patients and how long their effect lasts.

Dr Killip said: “The findings that certain mouthwashes can kill the coronavirus has potentially positive implications for infection prevention and control, particularly in the dental profession. If confirmed by evidence from real world trials, this simple solution could make it far easier for dentists and hygienists to keep seeing patients safely during the pandemic.”

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