The Saliva of Probands Sucking an Iota-Carrageenan Containing Lozenge Inhibits Viral Binding and Replication of the Most Predominant Common Cold Viruses and SARS-CoV-2

Int J Gen Med. 2021 Sep 7;14:5241-5249. doi: 10.2147/IJGM.S325861. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate whether sucking of an iota-carrageenan containing lozenge releases sufficient iota-carrageenan into the saliva of healthy subjects to neutralize representatives of the most common respiratory virus families causing common cold and SARS-CoV-2.

Patients and methods: In this monocentric, open label, prospective clinical trial, 31 healthy subjects were included to suck a commercially available iota-carrageenan containing lozenge. Saliva samples from 27 subjects were used for ex vivo efficacy analysis. The study's primary objective was to assess if the mean iota-carrageenan concentration of the saliva samples exceeded 5 µg/mL, which is the concentration known to reduce replication of human rhinovirus (hRV) 1a and 8 by 90%. The iota-carrageenan concentration of the saliva samples was analyzed by UV-Vis spectroscopy. The antiviral effectiveness of the individual saliva samples was determined in vitro against a panel of respiratory viruses including hRV1a, hRV8, human coronavirus OC43, influenza virus A H1N1pdm09, coxsackievirus A10, parainfluenza virus 3 and SARS-CoV-2 using standard virological assays.

Results: The mean iota-carrageenan concentration detected in the saliva exceeds the concentration needed to inhibit 90% of hRV1a and hRV8 replication by 134-fold (95% CI 116.3-160.8-fold; p < 0.001). Thus, the study met the primary endpoint. Furthermore, the iota-carrageenan saliva concentration was 60 to 30,351-fold higher than needed to reduce viral replication/binding of all tested viruses by at least 90% (p < 0.001). The effect was most pronounced in hCoV OC43; in case of SARS-CoV-2, the IC90 was exceeded by 121-fold (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Sucking an iota-carrageenan containing lozenge releases sufficient iota-carrageenan to neutralize and inactivate the most abundant respiratory viruses as well as pandemic SARS-CoV-2. The lozenges are therefore an appropriate measure to reduce the viral load at the site of infection, hereby presumably limiting transmission within a population as well as translocation to the lower respiratory tract.

Trial registration: NCT04533906.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; antiviral; clinical study; corona virus; iota-carrageenan; lozenges; respiratory viruses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

Associated data


Grants and funding

The research was partially funded by the Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG, Austrian research promotion agency) - 880687 and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) - 401821119/GRK2504 to US.