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Hydrogen peroxide protects better: Ghanaian scientists suggest in new COVID-19 study

Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, there has been over 8.5million cases with over 400,000 deaths worldwide. Till date, no clinically accepted cure is available. Health facilities worldwide resort to combination therapies, in order to manage symptoms from the viral infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) has established safety protocols to help reduce the possible transmission of the virus from one person to another. Some of these include: regular handwashing with soap under running water, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, avoiding of handshakes, wearing of nose masks at public places etc. Recently, scientists have developed the first clinically accepted vaccine, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is currently being used for mass vaccinations in some parts of the world. [Ref]

Coronavirus vaccine. Credit: USC news

A new study conducted by researchers from Ghana, West Africa, has suggested that low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide be used to augment already laid-down safety protocols in homes, workplaces and at various health facilities.

We are proposing, therefore, that use of 1% hydrogen peroxide mouthwash and gargle, at least twice a day be added to the established WHO preventive protocols for SARS-CoV-2.

Research stated

New study

Researchers from the University of Ghana, led by Emeritus Prof. Andrews S. Ayettey (Rtd.), have suggested that current preventive protocols against the spread of the virus [coronavirus] be supplemented with the use of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide solution. The observations were made when frontline health workers who regularly used hydrogen peroxide solution for protection recorded no case of the viral infection, whereas some colleagues who used other laid-down preventive protocols recorded cases of the infection. Prof Ayettey stated,

In our on-going observational studies, we have become even more convinced about the efficacy of this solution, realizing that eight (8) frontline nurses in the COVID-19 management team at a District Hospital using hydrogen peroxide had tested negative since May 2020. In comparison, 62 of their colleagues not using peroxide had contracted the disease by end of December.

He further added,

Recently, a friend who was not using hydrogen peroxide had COVID-19. His wife, three elderly children, and mother in-law who had been with him for 5 days and who all tested positive for the virus were encouraged to use hydrogen peroxide for mouth washing, throat gargling and nose cleansing, in addition to their prescribed medications of Vitamin C, Ivermectin and Zinc. After two (2) weeks, they all tested negative. None progressed to develop clinical symptoms of the disease.

Hydrogen peroxide and the coronavirus

RNA virus binds to ACE receptors on epithelial surfaces in mouth and oropharynx of host. Credit: American Chemical Society

0.5% hydrogen peroxide has proven effective in inactivating influenza and coronaviruses [Ref]. Before invading host cells, the coronavirus attaches itself to the most superficial cells of the epithelium of the oral cavity and oropharynx. After the incubation period (usually 14 days), the virus gains entry into cells and infect them. The use of hydrogen peroxide as mouthwash will inactivate the virus and thus prevent any further invasion into host cells. Hydrogen peroxides has been used as therapeutic mouthwash (to inactivate microbes) in clinical dentistry [1 2], and thus safe to use.

Who should use it?

The study proposed that anyone including but not limited to frontline health personnel, contacts of COVID-19 cases, security personnel, highly vulnerable individuals (aged and immunocompromised due to underlying disease/infection), and journalists, should effectively make use of hydrogen peroxide as a way of supplementing established protocols for better protection against infection from the corona virus.

Furthermore, since there is evidence that even 0.5% hydrogen peroxide could inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, this lower concentration could be used by individuals who may be more susceptible to tissue irritation, considering that its prophylactic use might be required over a long period. To further limit the risk of infecting others, asymptomatic individuals and mild to moderate cases could use hydrogen peroxide mouthwash and gargle to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 shed.

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