Héctor Rodríguez: «The rinse for Covid would be like dish soap, but directed at the virus»

A study in which the Gijón dentist Héctor Rodríguez has participated has discovered that a type of mouthwash manages to deactivate 99.99% of Covid-19 in the mouth, between one and up to five hours. "The mouthwash destroys the lipid layer, that is, the 'skin' of the virus, which means that, although the virus mutates into various variants, this substance is still effective," explains Rodríguez.

How does that mouthwash work that manages to deactivate 99.99% of Covid in the mouth?

It works like all the mouthwashes that dentists have used for years. They go into the mouth, you rinse and most of them, until now, were designed only against bacteria, but this one has a formulation that helps fight covid because the bioencapsulated D-limonene breaks down the outer lipid layer of the virus. It would be almost like the soap we use to wash dishes, but directed at viruses. There are publications between various teams around the world and we ourselves in our scientific publication compared other OTC products and found that ours with our formulation of D-limonene made it reach 99.99%. The person who uses it, the patient in the consultation or the patient who sees an anesthesiologist before intubating, rinses for 30 seconds with ten milliliters and that allows that person's mouth to have a low viral load, in case they had virus, for between one and five hours.

Why do we talk about between one and five hours?

Because if you go to the dentist or to do something that doesn't involve eating something afterwards or drinking, it can last up to five hours. Depending on what is done later, it will last less. For example, a group of people meet for dinner in a closed place and we don't know if someone is positive or not, asymptomatic or whatever. Everyone rinses off, the viral load goes down, they eat their food without the mask, obviously, and they all leave. The advantage is that we have decreased the viral load of that group of people. It is just another layer of protection. There are doctors who have been talking about exploring the use of mouthwashes since the beginning of the pandemic because they are one more element that helps prevent viruses from being in the air, they prevent transmission. They are like another mask. That is the main objective.

Since the effect lasts so little, it has to be used for specific times, right?

Yes, and it doesn't make sense for it to last longer either. You have it when you go to a dentist's office, if the anesthesiologist asks you to do it or a speech therapist, but then in real life it also helps you to use it at home if some friends come because you don't know if they can transmit the virus and so you don't have to ask them for an antigen test. This meeting time helps to reduce the viral load in the environment.

Is its effectiveness more than proven?

The protocol that we use is the same that has been used with other mouthwashes in the last 50 years of research. The only novelty is that in ours a system was added to make it easier to determine if the Sars-Cov-2 was effectively destroyed. It is about to be marketed throughout Europe and it is already being sold in several countries in America, as well as in the US In Europe it is already approved for its effectiveness. The first thing to show to approve a new product as a mouthwash is the effectiveness against different bacteria, viruses and fungi. The viruses that are requested do not include Sars-Cov-2. That is why one of the novelties of the article is that we have shown that it does work with it.

So it's already on the market...

Yes, in Spain there are only a few days left to enter the market. The group that did the work did it completely independently of those who were going to manufacture the product because it is the only way, from an ethical point of view, that we could do something objective and that is part of what the medical journals ask for , like the one we published, Healthcare, which has a high impact index. Posting here is often tricky.

Does publishing in these magazines suppose a diffusion for the sale and commercialization?

For the marketer, it does represent high-level scientific evidence, a prestigious showcase. The research team, who are people from five countries, has felt that the ego rises because they have accepted the work in this magazine with an impact of 99.99% greater than that of dental magazines. We wanted it to spread more, but in the medical sector. Our independence was such that the company did not even pay for the publication, the chair of periodontics at the University of Milan, one of the co-authors, did. We wanted independence.

Will it be sold in pharmacies when it arrives?

Yes. The cost will surely be four or five euros as in other countries to be competitive because it is still considered a new brand and product. It will have the size of other mouthwashes. Most countries are selling single-dose pods so that if you go to an event, you rinse before entering.

Scientists and universities from five countries (United States, Mexico, Colombia, Italy and Spain) participate. How long have they taken to do it? What techniques have they used? What has been the procedure?

A year and a half from when we started talking about it until the article was started and finished. The period of making the formula lasted several months. First there was a part where a doctor from Colombia and a chemist did the bioencapsulated D-limonene thing. We knew that it was useful, but to use it in a mouthwash, some chemical technique had to be used to reduce its size, which is what bioencapsulation does. From there everything started to develop. Then we found the place to do the tests. The trial protocol was done with PCR samples from patients who had Sars-Cov-2, which allowed us to work with the real virus, which was practically impossible anywhere in the world at the time.

The mouthwash destroys the lipid layer, that is, the skin of the virus, which means that, although the virus mutates into various variants, this substance is still effective...

In the virus, this outer layer where the famous spicules are, which sometimes mutate, is still a lipid layer. This acts as a kind of soap and destroys it. If the virus does not have the outer layer, the RNA cannot enter the cell because the spicules have opened.

What is the difference between this and other discoveries to fight Covid?

This is one that, being such an economical method, has not been taken into account because the price calculation can come out to 0.03 euros each rinse. We all have to get vaccinated, have good personal hygiene and use masks, but the WHO, for example, took a year and a half to recognize that it was a virus that was transmitted by aerosols. This adds an extra layer of protection when removing the mask. The virus accumulates, especially in the mouth and nose area. If you manage to lower the viral load in the saliva and in the salivary glands, you will also cause there to be less virus in that person's body that has the possibility of infecting cells and, above all, of transmitting by aerosols. The mask prevents us from absorbing aerosols from the people around us, but if they already come out with fewer viruses there will be less possibility of contagion.


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