After all the billions of dollars invested into producing a vaccine for coronavirus, could it be that items most households already have in their medicine cabinets turn out to be all we need?
Two separate trials are currently underway to test mouthwash and aspirin for their role in protecting against Covid-19, and hopes are high that the results will show that treatment for this disease can be both cheap and effective.
Unilever is funding the trial into use of mouthwash, even though the product currently being tested, Dentyl, is not one of its own manufacture. According to scientists involved in the study, it has already been proven that one of the common ingredients of mouthwash, cetylpyridinium chloride, can kill 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens in a person’s mouth. Given that coronavirus appears to be primarily transmitted via saliva, this is a highly significant finding.
Professor Valerie O’Donnell of Cardiff University, where part of the trial is being conducted, told The Telegraph that results from the studies already conducted on other brands of mouthwash “are highly encouraging [even though] in vivo [i.e. human] studies have not been published … Recent studies in test tubes have as much as possible tried to mimic the conditions in the throat, but of course this isn’t the same as in vivo.”
The results of the study are due to be published within the next few months.
Meanwhile, another study is looking into the potential role of aspirin in combating some of the most dangerous consequences of coronavirus infection – blood clots that can prove fatal.
Aspirin has long been used as a blood thinner, even though long-term use has been linked to kidney damage. However, its use in the short term is now being investigated by a team of researchers with the “Recovery Trial” program, one of the largest research projects in the United Kingdom.
People with coronavirus “seem to have hyper-reactive platelets which help stop bleeding which increases risk of blood clotting,” scientists involved in the trial stated.
Professor Peter Horby, co-chief investigator of the Recovery Trial, explained that, “We felt it was particularly important to add aspirin to the trial since there is a clear rationale for believing that it might be beneficial and it is safe, inexpensive, and widely available. We are looking for medicines for Covid-19 that can be used immediately by anyone, anywhere in the world. We do not know if aspirin is such a medicine but we will find out.”
Around 2,000 people have been enrolled in the randomized trial. Those in the active group will receive 150mg of aspirin per day, on top of the usual drug regimen; those in the control group will receive the usual regimen only.
Researchers from the Recovery Trial were the first to prove the benefits of using dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available steroid, for coronavirus treatment. They are also currently testing use of plasma from recovered patients, and the “Regeneron” antibody cocktail that was used to