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Researchers to test salt water as COVID-19 aid

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Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2020. 6:20 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Some swear by gargling salt water to reduce symptoms of the common cold, but could it work with COVID-19 as well?

According to the BBC, use of salt water in the treatment of Covid-19 is to be trialled by researchers in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Those who used it, according to prior research, reported fewer coughs, less congestion and quicker recovery.

Now, Edinburgh University scientists will investigate if the remedy can also help people with COVID-19. The study is now recruiting adults in Scotland with Covid-19 symptoms or who are confirmed as having the virus.

The BBC says the original pilot study – known as the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study, or Elvis – recruited healthy adults within two days of them contracting a type of upper respiratory tract infection commonly known as a cold.

They were divided into two groups with one group asked to gargle and rinse their nasal passages with a salt solution as they felt necessary.

The other group dealt with the cold the way they normally would do.

All participants kept a diary of their symptoms for up to two weeks. Self-collected swabs were also tested to measure the amount of the cold virus in their nose.

Researchers said those who carried out nasal irrigation and gargling with the salty solution experienced a shorter cold, were less likely to pass it on to their family, had faster viral clearance and were less likely to use medicines from a pharmacy.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the university’s Usher Institute, said: “We are now moving to trial our salt water intervention in those with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, and hope it will prove to be a useful measure to reduce the impact and spread of the infection.

“It only requires salt, water and some understanding of procedure, so should, if found to be effective, be easy, and inexpensive, to implement widely.”

The study is funded by Breathe – the data research hub for respiratory health.

Recently English scientists found that dexamethasone proved an inexpensive and effective treatment, but there is neither a prohibitive cure or treatment for the virus, which appears to most greatly affect older persons.

There are now more than 10 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide with deaths approaching half a million.

 

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