Can mouthwashes or nasal sprays protect healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19 infection?

Three new reviews have published on mouthwashes/nasal sprays to protect healthcare workers and patients from COVID-19 infection. Healthcare workers are at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis, with repeated exposure to individuals who are, or may be, infected, and are therefore at risk themselves.

These workers may be especially at risk when undertaking 'aerosol-generating procedures' (AGPs). This is any medical, dental or patient-care procedure that results in the production of airborne particles (aerosols) from the upper aerodigestive tract (mouth, nose, throat, oesophagus) and lower respiratory tract where the virus is shedding. These can remain suspended in the air and travel over a distance. They may cause infection if they are inhaled. Such procedures therefore create the potential for airborne transmission of infection.

This set of three reviews looks at the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes and nasal sprays

  1. by healthcare workers treating patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection;
  2. by patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection and
  3. by patients without suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, who are undergoing aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs), and the healthcare workers (HCWs) treating them.

The author team, a collaborative team from Cochrane’s Oral Health and Ear, Nose, Throat groups identified no completed studies for inclusion in any of these systematic reviews, which is not surprising given the relatively recent emergence of COVID-19 infection.

However, the authors did identify a number of ongoing studies, which have been recorded and will be monitored for completion with a view to updating the reviews as the results become available.

Read the reviews: