Efficacy of Povidone-Iodine Nasal and Oral Antiseptic Preparations Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Ear Nose Throat J. 2021 Apr;100(2_suppl):192S-196S. doi: 10.1177/0145561320957237. Epub 2020 Sep 21.


Introduction: Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the pathogen responsible for the global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). From the first reported cases in December 2019, the virus has spread to over 4 million people worldwide. Human-to-human transmission occurs mainly through the aerosolization of respiratory droplets. Transmission also occurs through contact with contaminated surfaces and other fomites. Improved antisepsis of human and nonhuman surfaces has been identified as a key feature of transmission reduction. There are no previous studies of povidone iodine (PVP-I) against SARS-CoV-2. This study evaluated nasal and oral antiseptic formulations of PVP-I for virucidal activity against SARS-CoV-2. This is the first report on the efficacy of PVP-I against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Methods: Povidone iodine nasal antiseptic formulations and PVP-I oral rinse antiseptic formulations from 1% to 5% concentrations as well as controls were studied for virucidal efficacy against the SARS-CoV-2. Test compounds were evaluated for ability to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 as measured in a virucidal assay. SARS-CoV-2 was exposed directly to the test compound for 60 seconds, compounds were then neutralized, and surviving virus was quantified.

Results: All concentrations of nasal antiseptics and oral rinse antiseptics evaluated completely inactivated the SARS-CoV-2.

Conclusions: Nasal and oral PVP-I antiseptic solutions are effective at inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 at a variety of concentrations after 60-second exposure times. The formulations tested may help to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 if used for nasal decontamination, oral decontamination, or surface decontamination in known or suspected cases of COVID-19.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; nasal rinse; oral rinse; povidone iodine.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects*
  • Mouth Mucosa
  • Mouthwashes
  • Nasal Lavage
  • Nasal Mucosa
  • Povidone-Iodine / pharmacology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / drug effects*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Mouthwashes
  • Povidone-Iodine