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Could A Chewing Gum Really Reduce The Spread Of COVID-19?

New experimental chewing gum has been developed that can reduce the transmission of coronavirus. In a study, published in the Journal of Molecular Therapy, chewing gum containing a protein that traps coronavirus particles could limit the amount of virus in saliva and help curb the Covid transmission.

Evidence shows that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have high levels of virus in their saliva. So, US researchers wanted to investigate whether a specially designed chewing gum could reduce the amount of virus in their mouth.

The SARS-CoV-2 gains entry into human cells by latching onto ACE2 proteins which are found on the surfaces of certain cells in our body. Therefore, the researchers have created a chewing gum that contains a copy of ACE2 protein. In test-tube experiments, the researchers took saliva samples from patients with COVID-19 and mixed these samples with a powdered form of the gum. They found that virus particles attached themselves to the ACE2 “receptors”, present in the chewing gum.

According to the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, 5mg of chewing gum could significantly reduce viral entry into cells while 50mg of the gum reduced viral entry by 95%.

Sars-CoV-2 gains entry into human cells by latching onto ACE2 proteins, which are found on the surfaces of certain cells in our body. The researchers produced a gum containing high levels of ACE2 proteins, produced in plants, with the idea being that the ACE2 proteins in the chewing gum could “trap” virus particles in the mouth, minimizing the opportunity they have to infect our cells and spread to other people.

Chewing gum to promote oral health is not a new idea. Studies have shown that chewing gums containing certain substances such as calcium and bicarbonate can help in reducing dental ailments.

However, specifically targeting a virus in this way is a novel approach.Although these results seem promising. this is early-stage research.When used in combination with current methods such as mask wearing, ventilation and vaccination, it could be another weapon in our arsenal for preventing the spread of COVID-19. But further research is needed before we can expect to be chewing it.

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