Study shows experimental chewing gum reduces Omicron particles in saliva

Harrisburg, United StatesEdited By: Vyomica BerryUpdated: Jul 27, 2022, 06:44 AM IST

Health workers conduct a Covid-19 coronavirus test on a commuter (C) at a train station in Bekasi, east of Jakarta Photograph:(AFP)

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According to the study, the gum traps SARS-CoV-2 particles in saliva and holds promise for curbing the transmission of new variants of the virus

A new study, that is yet to be certified by peer review, has shown that a piece of experimental chewing gum can reduce Omicron particles in saliva.

According to the study, the gum "traps" SARS-CoV-2 particles in saliva and holds promise for curbing the transmission of new variants of the virus.

Researchers reported in Biomaterials that the virus particles attached themselves to the ACE2 "receptors" in the chewing gum and the viral load fell to undetectable levels.

The coronavirus used copies of the ACE2 protein found on cell surfaces to break into cells and infect them during test-tube experiments using saliva from individuals infected with the Delta or Omicron variants.

While researchers prepare to launch the first human trial, COVID-19 patients will each chew four ACE2 gum tablets each day for four days in the clinical trial.

Engineered lettuce cells carry the "viral trap" ACE2 proteins in the gum as per the study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.

When researchers replaced lettuce cells with bean powder, it trapped SARS-CoV-2 particles along with influenza strains, and oral viruses such as human papillomavirus and herpesvirus.

Dr. Henry Daniell of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who is the research leader, told the news agency Reuters that "Because the nasal transmission is negligible when compared to oral transmission... chewing ACE2 gum and swallowing ACE2 protein should minimise infection, protect COVID-19 patients and prevent transmission."

(With inputs from agencies)

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