Can chewing gum really reduce the spread of COVID-19?

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Experimental chewing gum states that it may reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Recent research Published in the journal Molecular therapy..You may already have Featured headlines The findings of the battle with COVID-19 are called “new hope.” But how excited should we be? And does this gum work against the latest variant of concern, Omicron?

Evidence shows that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have High level Of the virus in their saliva. Therefore, researchers in the United States wanted to investigate whether specially designed chewing gum could reduce the amount of virus in the mouth and, as a result, reduce its spread.

Chewing gum to promote oral health is not a new idea.the study Shows Can improve chewing gum containing certain substances such as calcium and bicarbonate Oral hygiene, Reduce the incidence of dental diseases, reduce the number of Harmful bacteria.. However, targeting viruses in this way in particular is a new approach.

SARS-CoV-2 Human cells By latching on the ACE2 protein on the surface of certain cells in our body. Researchers believe that the ACE2 protein in chewing gum can “trap” viral particles in the mouth, minimizing the chances of infecting and spreading cells, and high levels of plant production. Produced gum containing ACE2 protein. Other people.

To test the effectiveness of chewing gum, researchers took saliva samples from patients with COVID-19 and mixed these samples with powdered gum.They found that processed saliva significantly reduced the number of SARS-CoV-2. Virus particles Compared to those treated with placebo (same gum but without ACE2) protein).

Researchers also have gums Pseudo-type virus (Harmless virus containing SARS-CoV-2 peplomer on the surface) From infected cells in the laboratory. Only 5 mg of gum was associated with a significant reduction in viral entry into cells, whereas 50 mg of gum reduced viral entry by 95%. This suggests that ACE2 gum significantly impedes the ability of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to infect cells.

Reason for attention

While these results look promising, there are several reasons why this gum cannot be considered a pandemic game changer. First, this is an early stage study. In other words, the experiment was conducted in a lab with controlled conditions, not in a real person.

The conditions for experiments in the laboratory are different from those for the human mouth. Researchers have used a masticatory simulator machine to show that masticatory movements do not affect the integrity of the ACE2 protein in the gums, but there are other questions that have yet to be answered.

Does the environment in the human mouth, such as body temperature and oral bacteria, affect the effectiveness of the gums? And how long will one gum keep working? As research progresses to this stage, it will be interesting to see if gums have a laboratory-like effect on people.

Second, although gum significantly reduced infection with the virus that carries the SARS-CoV-2 spike, researchers did not use the full SARS-CoV-2 virus in their experiments. While the method they used Virus pseudo-typing, Is a trial and error Scientific method To assess the invasion of the virus into cells, it will be interesting to see how the gums affect the complete SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Virological principles show why we are optimistic about whether gum is effective in various COVID variants such as Omicron. Regardless of the mutant and its mutation, SARS-CoV-2 invades human cells by latching on the ACE2 protein. This is the key to the work of the gums. That said, this is another question that you won’t know for sure until the product is tested in real-world testing.

Finally, it’s important to understand what this gum is designed for. Researchers point out that its primary use is likely to reduce the spread of the virus from people with COVID-19 to others, especially in clinical settings. It is unclear how effective a non-infected person is as a preventative drug. virusEspecially when SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted Via multiple routes Includes mouth as well as eyes and nose.

Still, this gum can have exciting prospects in the clinical setting. For example, it can reduce the spread of infection in dental surgery and COVID wards. When used in combination with current methods such as wearing masks, ventilation and vaccination, it could be another weapon to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But before we expect to bite it, further research is needed.

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Can chewing gum really reduce the spread of COVID-19?

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