Scientific Reports (Oct 2021)

The effectiveness of various gargle formulations and salt water against SARS-CoV-2

  • Vunjia Tiong,
  • Pouya Hassandarvish,
  • Sazaly Abu Bakar,
  • Nurul Azmawati Mohamed,
  • Wan Shahida Wan Sulaiman,
  • Nizam Baharom,
  • Farishah Nur Abdul Samad,
  • Ilina Isahak

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 1
pp. 1 – 7


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Abstract The COVID-19 is difficult to contain due to its high transmissibility rate and a long incubation period of 5 to 14 days. Moreover, more than half of the infected patients were young and asymptomatic. Virus transmission through asymptomatic patients is a major challenge to disease containment. Due to limited treatment options, preventive measures play major role in controlling the disease spread. Gargling with antiseptic formulation may have potential role in eliminating the virus in the throat. Four commercially available mouthwash/gargle formulations were tested for virucidal activity against SARS-CoV-2 in both clean (0.3 g/l BSA) and dirty (0.3 g/l BSA + 3 mL/L human erythrocytes) conditions at time points 30 and 60 s. The virus was isolated and propagated in Vero E6 cells. The cytotoxicity of the products to the Vero E6 was evaluated by kill time assay based on the European Standard EN14476:2013/FprA1:2015 protocol. Virus titres were calculated as 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50/mL) using the Spearman-Karber method. A reduction in virus titer of 4 log10 corresponds to an inactivation of ≥ 99.99%. Formulations with cetylperidinium chloride, chlorhexidine and hexitidine achieved > 4 log10 reduction in viral titres when exposed within 30 s under both clean and dirty conditions. Thymol formulations achieved only 0.5 log10 reduction in viral titres. In addition, salt water was not proven effective. Gargle formulations with cetylperidinium chloride, chlorhexidine and hexetidine have great potential in reducing SAR-CoV-2 at the source of entry into the body, thus minimizing risk of transmission of COVID-19.