The SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is highly contagious. Human-to-human transmission of the disease is the primary route of spread and occurs through respiratory droplets expelled during coughing, sneezing and talking when a person is in close contact (within 1 m) with a person who has the infection. There is no cure for COVID-19 and till an actual vaccine is available, adherence to preventive measures (wearing face mask, hand washing, physical distancing), which protect against the infection, is critical.
The mouth is also a portal of entry for the virus. Throat is a reservoir for the transmission of the virus, as the virus mainly replicates here, even in asymptomatic or presymptomatic persons, who become potential sources of infection. Gargling therefore is another important preventive measure to reduce the viral load in the throat of the infected patients. Although it will not eliminate the virus, it may reduce spread of the virus into the community.
Excerpts from published evidence
Broad spectrum antimicrobial action
“Povidone‐iodine is considered to have the broadest spectrum of antimicrobial action compared with other common antiseptics such as chlorhexidine, octenidine, polyhexanide and hexetidine showing efficacy against Gram‐positive and Gram‐negative bacteria, bacteria spores, fungi, protozoa and several viruses.”1
Potent virucidal activity
Virucidal activity against SARS-CoV-2 virus: In vitro evidence
PVP-I mouthwash is included in the WHO R&D Blueprint for Experimental Therapies against COVID-19. 6
Rationale for throat gargling in COVID-19 pandemic
Dr KK Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA
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