A salt water solution could help stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from gaining momentum, Brazilian researchers report.
However, although saline can prevent the virus from replicating, it does not offer complete protection against infection or a cure for COVID-19.
“This is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and it should be used in the first few days after infection,” said researcher Cristiane Guzzo, professor of microbiology at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at the University of São Paulo.
In the study, 1.1% sodium chloride saline solution reduced virus replication by 88% in tests for infected lung cells in the lab.
“Reducing viral replication means reducing the severity of the disease and the inflammatory response. COVID-19 is a complex disease, comprising the stage of viral replication, which hypertonic saline could treat, followed by systemic inflammation, which is much more widespread. This second stage can be intense and lead to a number of complications in different organs, ”Guzzo explained in a press release from the São Paulo Research Foundation.
If the strategy proves effective in clinical trials, the researchers said it could lead to the development of new ways to prevent or treat COVID-19.
“Given the severity of the pandemic, we think it would be important to expand this line of research by conducting clinical trials designed to verify the effectiveness of using a spray … helping to prevent the virus from spreading. spread in the infected body and reduce the likelihood of more severe inflammation, ”added Guzzo.
“It’s very simple and inexpensive,” Guzzo said. “It is already used prophylactically against other respiratory illnesses, and it could minimize the severity of COVID-19 by reducing the viral load.”
She suggested it could be added to safety protocols without replacing the use of face masks, social distancing and vaccination.
“If its effectiveness is confirmed in clinical trials, it could reduce viral replication in the nose and throat,” Guzzo said.
The researchers suggest that the saline solution could be tested in two ways. One is a nasal spray like those found in pharmacies. It could be used by frontline healthcare workers or others at high risk for the virus.
The other way is to inhale or nebulize physiological saline in the lungs, which is more complicated.
The results were published online recently in the journal ACS Pharmacology and Translational Science.
The United States National Institutes of Health have learn more about COVID-19.
SOURCE: São Paulo Research Foundation, press release, September 21, 2021