Experimental chewing gum may help reduce transmission of COVID-19

Researchers in Philadelphia have developed a chewing gum from lettuce that has been shown to neutralize the COVID-19 virus in saliva.

Source: Financial Tribune

SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from an infected person to a healthy person through droplets and aerosols produced while talking, breathing, or singing. Hence, we try to reduce transmission of the virus by use of masks, physical distancing, and air filters.

The saliva of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people has a high viral load which depends directly on the severity of infection and symptoms. The virus replicates inside glands in your cheek and mouth that produce saliva and mucus. This is especially true for the newer variants of the virus - the Delta strain has a viral load 1,260 times more than that of the previous strains.

Therefore, viral inactivation in the mouth can be used as an effective strategy to prevent spread.

Scientists at Penn Dental Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, have created a chewing gum from plant-based substances that may reduce the SARS-CoV-2 load in the saliva.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Henry Daniell, Ph.D. said: "SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, therefore, debulking viruses the oral cavity should decrease reinfection of [people with a SARS-CoV-2 infection], in addition to prevention of transmission."

"So, [Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2)] chewing gum should provide people with COVID-19 time to build immunity and help reduce disease severity, which depends on viral load."

The study has been published in Molecular Therapy.

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