• Scientists are now testing if gargling salt and water can help treat COVID-19
  • The team discovered that the method used to be effective with common colds
  • If it works, it could be an inexpensive treatment that could be implemented widely

Theories and myths abound with regard to SARS-CoV-2, or the virus behind the COVID-19. Now, scientists are testing whether or not gargling salt and water can help in treating this disease considering that the method showed an effect in other strains seen previously.

Saline Solutions and Colds

A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh discovered that saline solutions successfully reduced common colds. There was a reduction in the symptoms by two or more days, creating a positive effect on patients.

Based on this premise, scientists want to find out whether the same method will work on COVID-19. After all, the virus is new and there are still so many things that are left to be discovered about it.

scientists now testing if gargling salt and water can help treat covid-19
scientists now testing if gargling salt and water can help treat covid-19 Dvinchanin - Pixabay

The Trial

Dubbed as the COVID-19 ELVIS, scientists are now recruiting volunteers for this trial. The trial is for the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study.

It aims to study if the process of gargling salty water will reduce the duration of the symptoms or if it would prevent the transmission of the virus to other people in the same household. “As COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus we do not know if nasal washout and gargling salty water will have the same effect as previously seen in other strains," a representative of the Scottish team stated.

Previous Study

A study previously conducted by the team, published in 2019, strongly suggested that symptoms of a common cold may be reduced by two and a half days with the help of salt and water. The rationale behind it is that there are human cells that utilize one component of sea salt, which is chloride ions, in order to create hypochlorous acid. This acid is known as the active ingredient in bleach and it, also, has antiviral properties.

As per the study, participants who fall sick can just do everything from home. All that they need to do is to fill out online diaries. Of course, they would also need a supply of salt. The team would only request half of those who exhibit key symptoms in the past 48 hours to use salt water so that they can compare them with those who will not be using salt and water.

“It only requires salt, water, and some understanding of procedure so should — if found to be effective — be easy and inexpensive to implement widely," Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the university's Usher Institute, said, as per Science Focus. He also stated they hope it will be a useful measure that could reduce the spread of the infection.