Scientists develop a gum to counter COVID-19

MN Report 02:58 PM, 8 Dec, 2021
Scientists develop a gum to counter COVID-19

PENNSYLVANIA: The work by Henry Daniell, lead author of the research, and in cooperation with other scientists, resulted in the development of chewing gum to inhibit COVID-19 transmission. 

According to Henry Daniell, SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and experts recognised that when an infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks, a portion of the virus is released and spread to others. 

The lead author stated that newly developed gum had the potential to neutralise the virus in the saliva, providing a simple technique to reduce illness transmission potentially. Further, the lead author acknowledged that COVID-19 vaccines had contributed to altering the epidemic's trajectory, but they had not completely stopped it. Even persons who were fully vaccinated could contract SARS-CoV-2.

To test the chewing gum, the researchers produced ACE2 in plants and combined it with another component that allows the protein to pass mucosal barriers and aids binding, then put the plant material into cinnamon-flavoured gum tablets. They demonstrated that the ACE2 detected in nasopharyngeal swabs from COVID-positive individuals might kill SARS-CoV-2 viruses by incubating them with the gum

Eventually, the researchers exposed saliva samples from COVID-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and discovered that viral RNA levels dropped to practically undetectable levels. 

However, the research is still in its early phases; if clinical studies show that the gum is medically beneficial, it might be given to patients whose infection state is unknown, or even during dental check-ups when masks must be removed, to limit the risk of the virus being passed to caretakers. 

The study 'Debulking SARS-CoV-2 in saliva using angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 in chewing gum to decrease oral virus transmission and infection' has been published in Molecular Therapy.