There’s been elevated anxiousness after epidemiologists warned of a brand new and considerably extra virulent coronavirus variant, Omicron, circulating in elements of South Africa and another nations. With it, the race to seek out methods to cease the COVID-19 pandemic has acquired extra urgency. In that effort, researchers on the College of Pennsylvania, US, have examined a brand new experimental chewing gum that would scale back the quantity of coronavirus particles in saliva. This, the researchers say, may assist sluggish the transmission of the virus when contaminated individuals speak, breathe, or cough.
The coronavirus has been discovered to transmit via each droplets and aerosols and is linked largely with indoor publicity of contaminated people. To regulate transmission, steps to scale back concentrations of indoor aerosols largely via masking and bodily distancing have been prompt. The researchers say chewing the gum they’ve developed releases a protein within the mouth that “traps” virus particles, which may curb the unfold of virus-laden droplets. They hope this gum may assist the worldwide vaccination efforts and be helpful in nations the place vaccines should not but broadly obtainable.
The examine has been printed within the journal Molecular Remedy. “Chewing gum with virus-trapping proteins presents a normal inexpensive technique to guard sufferers from most oral virus re-infections via debulking or minimizing transmission to others,” as per the authors.
The examine explains that the gum incorporates copies of the ACE2 protein on cell surfaces, which is the “spike” protein that the coronavirus makes use of to contaminate cells. Throughout experiments, the researchers discovered that the virus particles hooked up to the ACE2 receptors within the gum and the viral load fell by greater than 95 p.c.
The researchers examined the chewing gum in check tubes utilizing saliva and swab samples from hospitalised sufferers with confirmed COVID-19. Although the gum isn’t but obtainable to be used, the researchers say the gum meets US drug regulators’ necessities.