Path-Breaking: Scientists Develop Chewing Gum That May Reduce COVID Transmission

New York: A path-breaking study has found that a chewing gum, laced with a plant-grown protein, could be used as a ‘trap’ for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 virus) thereby reducing viral load in saliva and potentially bringing down transmission of the disease.

The research by Henry Daniell of Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, in collaboration with scientists at Perelman School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine and The Wistar Institute and Fraunhofer, USA, could lead to a low-cost tool to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their study has been published in the journal Molecular Therapy.

“SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs or speaks, some of that virus can be expelled and reach others. This gum offers an opportunity to neutralize the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission,” said Daniell.

Daniell had been studying angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein before the pandemic for treating hypertension. His lab had grown this protein and many others with therapeutic potential, using a patented plant-based production system.

Daniell’s previous work on ACE2 proved useful in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

Other researchers have shown that injections of ACE2 can reduce viral load in patients with severe COVID infection.

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