Can mouthwash protect you from coronavirus?

A new study has been making headlines after it showed that some alcohol-based mouthwashes appeared to inactivate coronavirus.

The study published in the Journal of Medical Virology stated that Listerine and Listerine-like products "may provide an additional level of protection against the virus,” reported People.

In some cases these products appeared to inactivate 99.9% of coronaviruses in 30 seconds, noted Forbes.

But now health experts are speaking up to address some of the study’s limitations.

“I don’t have a problem with using Listerine, but it’s not an antiviral,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University, said to the New York Times.

One issue with the study is that it actually tested the products against a common cold strain of coronavirus (HCoV‐229E) and not SARS-CoV2, which is the novel virus at the center of the deadly pandemic.

Another thing to consider is that the study obtained its results using culture dishes in a laboratory and had no human participants in the research.

Experts stress that what happens in a lab may not have similar results in other circumstances.

“You can use mouthwash to reduce your own chance of getting gingivitis,” Rasmussen added. “I don’t think it’s going to have a meaningful impact on your ability to transmit this virus.”

More studies and clinical trials are needed before any claims can be made about the ability of mouthwash to limit the transmission of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2) within the general population.

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