Purpose: One of the key approaches to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission would be to reduce the titres of SARS-CoV-2 in the saliva of infected COVID-19 patients. This is particularly important in high-risk procedures like dental treatment. The present randomized control trial evaluated the efficacy of three commercial mouth-rinse viz. povidone-iodine (PI), chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX) and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), in reducing the salivary SARS-CoV-2 viral load in COVID-19 patients compared with water.
Methods: A total of 36 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients were recruited, of which 16 patients were randomly assigned to four groups-PI group (n = 4), CHX group (n = 6), CPC group (n = 4) and water as control group (n = 2). Saliva samples were collected from all patients at baseline and at 5 min, 3 h and 6 h post-application of mouth-rinses/water. The samples were subjected to SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR analysis.
Results: Comparison of salivary Ct values of patients within each group of PI, CHX, CPC and water at 5 min, 3 h and 6 h time points did not show any significant differences. However, when the Ct value fold change of each of the mouth-rinse group patients were compared with the fold change of water group patients at the respective time points, a significant increase was observed in the CPC group patients at 5 min and 6 h and in the PI group patients at 6 h.
Conclusion: The effect of decreasing salivary load with CPC and PI mouth-rinsing was observed to be sustained at 6 h time point. Within the limitation of the current study, as number of the samples analyzed, the use of CPC and PI formulated that commercial mouth-rinses may be useful as a pre-procedural rinse to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. ISRCTN (ISRCTN95933274), 09/09/20, retrospectively registered.
Keywords: Antiseptics; COVID-19; Clinical trial; Mouth-rinses; SARS-CoV-2; Saliva.