December 7, 2021, 18:26

    Experimental chewing gum that ‘traps’ Covid particles could help protect people

    Experimental chewing gum that ‘traps’ Covid particles could help protect people

    A new experimental chewing gum could help people protect themselves against Covid-19, scientists believe.

    The gum, which is being analysed through a study in the US, contains a protein that "traps" coronavirus particles and could limit the amount of virus in saliva.

    Researchers believe it could curb transmission when infected people are talking, breathing or coughing.

    The chewing gum contains copies of the ACE2 protein found on cell surfaces, which the virus uses as a gateway to break into cells and infect them.

    In test-tube experiments using saliva and swab samples from infected individuals, virus particles attached themselves to the ACE2 "receptors" in the chewing gum, scientists explained.

    The chewing gum is not available for use but is being tested in the US (Stock photo)
    (

    Image:
    Getty Images)

    As a result, the viral load in the samples fell by more than 95%, the research team from the University of Pennsylvania reported in Molecular Therapy.

    The research team said the gum tastes like conventional chewing gum and can be stored for years at normal temperatures.

    Scientists added that chewing it does not damage the ACE2 protein molecules.

    Researchers said that using gum to reduce viral loads in saliva could add to the benefit of vaccines and would be particularly useful in countries where vaccines are not yet available or affordable.

    While the gum is not available for use, it may be a promising step for the future.

    It comes as Government and NHS guidance in the UK advised people to take a rapid Covid-19 test before mixing with others in "crowded indoor spaces".

    The chewing gum could add to the benefit of vaccines
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    Image:
    PA)

    Previously the public was advised to use lateral flow tests twice-weekly, but now Brits have been told to take tests when they go to crowded places or when they visit a person who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19.

    The advice comes ahead of the busy festive period where people will be spending more time seeing loved ones, shopping or going to Christmas parties.

    People who develop symptoms of Covid-19 – including a new and persistent cough, a fever or a loss or change of taste or smell – are still encouraged to self-isolate and get a PCR test.

    The advice on the Government website says that around one in three people who have Covid-19 do not have any symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus without knowing.

    It urges people to use the free rapid lateral flow tests, which can be collected from pharmacies and are available online.

    The advice adds: "You are at higher risk of catching or passing on Covid-19 in crowded and enclosed spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious and where there is limited fresh air.

    "You may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test if it is expected that there will be a period of high risk that day.

    "This includes spending time in crowded and enclosed spaces, or before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get Covid-19."

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    Sourse: mirror.co.uk

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