"Mouthwash kills covid-19, why not try all these things' - US Senator Ron Johnson says; Mouthwash brands react

"Mouthwash kills covid-19, why not try all these things' - US Senator Ron Johnson says; Mouthwash brands react

Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson is facing backlash after he recommended using mouthwash to fight COVID-19.

The Republican lawmaker and close ally of Donald Trump made his comments during a Town Hall discussion on Thursday, December 9.

“[T]he [National Institutes of Health] had posted a study that most standard mouthwashes...have an ingredient in there that can reduce the viral load in your mouth,” Mr Johnson said in an interview with Vicki McKenna, a radio host who has shared articles referring to the Covid-19 vaccine as a “dead baby vaccine”.

“Standard gargle, mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus. If you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?" he added

Johnson’s recommendation is reminiscent of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 suggestion that disinfectants might clear the lungs of coronavirus if swallowed. The comment by Trump was followed by an uptick in people consuming household toxins including bleach.

The WHO says mouthwash won’t kill germs inside a person’s system and coronavirus usually enters through the nose — even though studies have found that mouthwash can kill germs in human saliva.

The 66-year-old senator later attempted to simplify the scope of his comments on Twitter by linking his comments to a National Institutes of Health report that says gargling and spitting “appears to provide a modest benefit compared with placebo in reducing viral load in saliva.”

Following the senator’s claims, two of the world's leading mouthwash brands have published extensive web pages on their company sites deterring customers from thinking that they are effective preventative measures against the virus.

“While many of our mouthwashes have been proven to kill bad breath germs ... [n]one of our mouthwash products have been tested against the coronavirus and are not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19,” reads a statement on Crest’s website, which adds: “Consumers should follow the preventative measures recommended by their health care provider.”

Listerine’s website is even more specific in it's rebuttal: “Although there are recent lab-based reports (in vitro studies) of some LISTERINE® Mouthwashes having activity against enveloped viruses, including coronavirus, the available data is insufficient, and no evidence-based clinical conclusions can be drawn with regards to the anti-viral efficacy of LISTERINE® Antiseptic mouthwash at this time.” The website has made such information available since March of 2020, according to a company spokesperson.

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Following the rebuttal, on Thursday, senator Johnson released another statement.

“I did not say that taking vitamins, using mouthwash, would be a replacement for the vaccine, should you choose to get one,” said the senator.

“There are multiple studies that say, mouthwash may reduce viral load, including on the NIH website, ‘this trial supports using CDCM on day 1 to reduce the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva.’”

“I continued to be amazed at the resistance to anything that might reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms,” he continued.

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