Unilever however, said, "The tests do not suggest that the formulation is a treatment for COVID-19, nor a guarantee that it will prevent transmission on its own."
Global FMCG major Unilever on November 21 said it will bring to India its mouthwash formulation, which, it claims, will reduce 99.9 percent of coronavirus after 30 seconds of rinsing.
"Unilever has confirmed that preliminary lab test results show that mouthwash formulation containing CPC Technology reduces 99.9 per cent of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after 30 seconds of rinsing," the company said in a statement.
The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose, which has been detected before, during, and after the acute phase of illness, as well as in asymptomatic cases.
"Therefore, reducing the viral load in the mouth could help to reduce transmission. The findings indicate that mouthwash could become an important addition to other everyday protective measures like handwashing, physical distancing and mask wearing," it added.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Unilever Oral Care Research and Development Head Glyn Roberts said, "While we are clear that this is not a cure or proven way to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, our results are promising."
Roberts added that given the critical stage of the pandemic, the company feels it is important to share the results of the mouthwash.
This technology will be brought to India by Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), Unilever's arm, in Pepsodent Germicheck Mouth Rinse Liquid, which will be launched in India in December 2020, the company said.
Unilever said the test for its mouthwash containing CPC (cetylpyridinium chloride) technology was conducted by an independent and internationally accredited testing facility, Microbac Laboratories, on behalf of Unilever Research Laboratories in the US.
CPC is a widely used cosmetic ingredient, also used by the dental industry, and is known for its antibacterial and anti-virus benefits.
The test focussed on both 30 and 60 seconds rinse times, aiming to replicate the real-life use of mouthwash in an in-vitro context.The company, however, said, "The tests do not suggest that the formulation is a treatment for COVID-19, nor a guarantee that it will prevent transmission on its own."