Background: The use of prophylactic antisepsis to protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been suggested. This study investigated hydrogen peroxide antisepsis (HPA) at two hospitals in Ghana.
Methods: Cases of COVID-19 among healthcare workers (HCWs) using hydrogen peroxide (HP-HCWs) or not using hydrogen peroxide (NHP-HCWs), vaccinated or unvaccinated, were recorded at Shai-Osudoku Hospital (SODH), Dodowa, and Mount Olives Hospital (MOH), Techiman, between May 2020 and December 2021. The effect of HPA in all inpatients at MOH was also observed. Permutation tests were used to determine P values.
Findings: At SODH, there were 62 (13.5%) cases of COVID-19 among 458 NHP-HCWs but no cases among eight HP-HCWs (P=0.622) from May to December 2020. Between January and March 2021, 10 (2.7%) of 372 NHP-HCWs had COVID-19, but there were no cases among 94 HP-HCWs (P=0.206). At MOH, prior to HPA, 17 (20.2%) of 84 HCWs and five (1.4%) of 370 inpatients had COVID-19 in July 2020. From August 2020 to March 2021, two of 54 (3.7%) HCWs who stopped HPA had COVID-19; none of 32 NHP-HCWs contracted COVID-19. At SODH, none of 23 unvaccinated HP-HCWs and 35 (64%) of 55 unvaccinated NHP-HCWs had COVID-19 from April to December 2021 (P<0.0001). None of 34 vaccinated HP-HCWs and 53 (13.6%) of 390 vaccinated NHP-HCWs had COVID-19 (P=0.015). No inpatients on prophylactic HPA (total 7736) contracted COVID-19.
Conclusion: Regular, daily HPA protects HCWs from COVID-19, and curtails nosocomial spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Keywords: Antisepsis; COVID-19; Healthcare workers; Hydrogen peroxide; Mouthwash; Nasal rinse; Nasopharyngeal; Oropharyngeal.
Copyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.