Special chewing gum, developed by American scientists and no different from the usual, resists coronavirus infection.
The results of the work of scientists from the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal Molecular Therapy… Molecular Therapy Edition is a scientific journal published by Cell Press. Its goal is to develop and research “molecular and cell therapy for the correction of genetic and acquired diseases.”
The development principle is quite simple. By binding to the ACE2 receptors in the anticoid gum, the virus particles stick to them and cannot penetrate the cells of the oral cavity, the researchers note. The idea consists in a banal deception of the virus, presenting individual protein molecules as real human cells. They block the coronavirus and prevent it from multiplying.
This invention could be a good help for vaccination, the developers say. Antique gum tastes the same and is stored under the same conditions without losing its effectiveness.
Covid chewing gum is a 2 gram tablet containing a herbal powder. To do this, the researchers grew a batch of modified lettuce, which contains a large number of ACE2 receptors. The study authors explain:
“Reducing viral load in saliva should limit the risk of transmission from a potential carrier and will help reduce the severity of COVID-19 by minimizing re-infection, since the salivary glands are the main site of virus replication.”
Human clinical trials have not yet been conducted, but in a laboratory setting, an unusual method has shown very encouraging results. The efficacy was tested on coronavirus-infected hamster cells and on saliva samples from people with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
Scientists found that even 5 μg of protein in chewing gum was enough to significantly reduce the penetration of the virus into cells, and 50 μg reduced its activity by 95%. Speaking about the advantages of the development, its authors note:
“In addition to prophylactic protection against COVID-19 in public places or restaurants, chewing gum with ACE2 can be used as a quick means of reducing oral viral load in infected patients requiring dental procedures.”
However, skeptics point out that it is too early to celebrate the victory over the pandemic. Often, what works great in a test tube doesn’t stand up to reality. Do not forget that the conditions in our mouth are very different from laboratory conditions and it is completely unknown how the temperature of the oral cavity and the bacteria living there will affect the effectiveness of chewing gum.