Could an over-the-counter throat lozenge reduce transmission of covid? Scientists think so…

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By Michael Coles

Scientists in Slovenia reckon a humble throat lozenge could be used as a treatment for covid-19 infections.

In a peer reviewed paper published September 2021 researchers working at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ljubljana, discovered some popular lozenges containing a combination of benzydamine hydrochloride and cetypiridinium chloride (BH/CPC) reduce the spread of the covid virus in minutes.

“The antiseptic, cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), has already been described as a successful bactericide,” say researchers.

“In addition, there are some studies suggesting its efficacy against certain enveloped viruses. Thus, the aim of our study was to examine the virucidal [killing viruses] activity of CPC and a combination of BH/CPC as a free active substance or as lozenge on SARS-CoV-2 in vitro [in the lab].

“Under in-laboratory simulated conditions of lozenge administration, we incubated SARS-CoV-2 with three different concentrations of each of the active substances, CPC, free BH/CPC or BH/CPC, as a lozenge suspension for one minute, 5 min and 15 min of contact time.

“Our results show that all active substances in high-concentration suspensions, as well as a medium concentration of the BH/CPC combination, exhibited a reduction in viral titre [strength].

“Additionally, the highest concentration of BH/CPC as a lozenge had a faster virucidal effect compared to CPC as a free active substance alone, since a contact time as short as one minute reduced the initial virus concentration by more than 4-log.

“This study demonstrates the effective strong virucidal effect of the lozenge, with the possibility of viral load reduction in the oral cavity and, consequently, reduced risk of viral transmission.”

Researchers at the university add that the route of SARS-CoV-2 infection is currently considered to be via respiratory droplets, and the virus particle is viable in aerosols for up to three hours [21,22].

“To date, the relationship between the lung and throat viral load in terms of disease severity is unclear, nor is it known how the reduction in the viral load in the throat may affect the resulting lung disease or viral transmission.

“If it is expected that higher concentrations of the virus in the throat might increase the possibility of infecting others, then strategies to reduce the number of infective virus particles in mucous membranes could help reduce the risk of transmission.

“Therefore, when assuming that the throat is the major site of replication in early stages, the use of topical agents that could damage or destroy the lipid envelope of the virus has the potential to reduce the viral load in the oropharynx [section of the throat].

“Several case reports have also confirmed the efficacy of mouth rinses in reducing the SARS-CoV-2 load in the saliva [23,24,25].

“Further investigation into the mechanism of virucidal activity and the clinical effects of the BH/CPC lozenge for control of RTIs is warranted.”

More information here.

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