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Research team claims menthol crystals found to block infection from COVID-19 

Posted: Tuesday, March 2, 2021. 3:15 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A multinational research team claims to have made a major breakthrough by using menthol crystals to stop the deadly spread of the coronavirus. According to the team, they have positively identified – through both evidence-based methods and multifaceted research – that menthol crystals block the virus that causes COVID-19, the Jamaica Gleaner reports

The team, which comprises medical doctors and dentists from the Caribbean, the United States, and Cameroon, made their findings as early as April-May 2020. However, the release of the findings was delayed as they awaited validation. 

The team found that the menthol crystal fume attaches to the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract via micro spikes, also known as cilia. These block the binding of the COVID-19’s S protein to the ACE-2 receptors of human cells. The virus needs to attach in order to successfully invade the body. 

But can the finding be used, and how? Daniel Ogunsalu, a UWI, Mona, undergraduate student, has developed methods by which menthol crystal can be used to prevention COVID-19, including a self-assembled device to replace the face mask comprising a face shield attached to eyeglasses with a slot for a menthol pack. This slot will carry a replaceable perforated cassette (plastic or paper). Larger cassettes have also been devised to be used in houses, offices, and inside motor vehicles. Alternatively, he said, the shield could be mentholated overnight in a container. 

This device, the team believes, is a better option to the World Health Organisation (WHO)-recommended face masks, which one of the researchers said allows a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the oral cavity, encouraging bacteria that can cause gum disease. 

The team has decided not to patent its discovery so it can be immediately engaged in the global fight against COVID-19, especially with many developing countries being left behind in the vaccination race. 

“Applying for and acquiring patent takes time. It has taken us close to one year to complete the research and we strongly believe that many lives would be saved if we move with haste in making the device available for use globally without further delay. For a virus that poses a great threat to mankind, the ideal thing is to take preventive measures against it to be available cost-free,” a team member from Trinidad and Tobago said. 


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