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Mouthwashes With CPC Reduce the Infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Vitro

Alexandria, Va., USA — Certain mouthwashes decrease the infectivity of respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 but the agents with antiviral activity present in these oral rinses and their mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. The study “Mouthwashes With CPC Reduce the Infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Vitro,” published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), shows that show that cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), a quaternary ammonium compound present in many oral mouthwashes, reduces SARS-CoV-2 infectivity by inhibiting the viral fusion step with target cells after disrupting the integrity of the viral envelope.

Researchers tested the capacity of CPC-containing mouth rinses to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 entry into target cells by employing a luciferase-based assay, using a reporter lentivirus engineered to express the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which allows the detection of viral fusion with target HEK-293T cells expressing human ACE2 receptor.

It was shown under laboratory conditions that CPC-containing mouth rinses decreased more than a thousand times the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, while the vehicle control rinses had no effect. This activity was effective for clinical isolates of SARS-CoV-2, including the B.1.1.7 (alpha variant) that emerged in the United Kingdom, and also in the presence of sterilized saliva.

The researchers noted that although CPC-containing mouthwashes could protect the oral mucosa from infection, SARS-CoV-2 most likely infects cells via the upper respiratory tract. “The results point to the potential utility of CPC-containing oral rinses to decrease viral load in saliva, which could create a very cost-effective intervention” said JDR Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Jakubovics, Newcastle University, England. “However, clinical studies are needed to determine whether this approach can reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from infected individuals. Future studies should address the duration of the CPC antiviral activity in the oral cavity and if any particular formulation is more effective than others.”

About the Journal of Dental Research

The IADR/AADR Journal of Dental Research (JDR) is a multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the dissemination of new knowledge in all sciences relevant to dentistry and the oral cavity and associated structures in health and disease. The JDR ranks #3 in Impact Factor of 91 journals, #2 without self-citations, as well as #2 of 91 in Article Influence with a score of 1.627. The JDR’s 5-year Impact Factor remained above 5 for the fifth year at 5.844 — ranking #2 of 91 journals. With over 20,000 citations, the JDR also boasts the most citations in the “Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine” category, over 3,500 citations above the 2nd ranked journal in the field. Follow the JDR on Twitter @JDentRes!

International Association for Dental Research

The International Association for Dental Research (IADR) is a nonprofit organization with over 10,000 individual members worldwide, with a mission to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research for health and well-being worldwide. To learn more, visit The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is the largest Division of IADR with 3,100 members in the United States. To learn more, visit