To aid in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, researchers have developed an experimental chewing gum that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 – in the mouth.
Symptomatic and asymptomatic people with COVID-19 carry a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load in their saliva. This viral load is one of the main ways that the SARS-CoV-2 spreads from person to person. Therefore, neutralizing this viral load while it's still in the mouth could be a formidable way to curb the spread of the disease.
That's why researchers, led by Penn Dental Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, created a chewing gum from plant-based materials that could reduce the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva.
Speaking to Medical News Today, Henry Daniell, Ph.D., vice-chair and W.D. Miller Professor in the Department of Basic & Translational Sciences at Penn Dental Medicine in Philadelphia, PA, lead author of the study, said:
“SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, therefore, debulking viruses in the oral cavity should decrease reinfection of [people with a SARS-CoV-2 infection], in addition to prevention of transmission.”
“So,” Dr. Daniell continued, “[Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)] chewing gum should provide people with COVID-19 time to build immunity and help reduce disease severity, which depends on viral load.”
The current study appears in Molecular Therapy.
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