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Plant-based chewing gum could be the saving grace in “neutralizing” COVID-19, according to a new study.
It was developed by researchers at Penn School of Dental Medicine and works by reducing transmission through sneezing, coughing, and speaking.
This is because the gum is “loaded” with DNA from an angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which binds to the virus and may block it from spreading.
It’s hoped the gum can “diminish” virus infection.
COVID-19 busting plant-based gum
Lead researcher Henry Daniell explained in the Medical Express that the gum provides an opportunity to “cut down on a source of disease transmission.”
This is because the gum is directed to the salivary glands, where SARS-CoV-2 replicates. It involves loading the plant material with proteins, before a binding process takes place.
The work involved teaming up with virologist Ronald Collman, who has collected blood, nasal swabs, and saliva from COVID-19 patients since the start of the pandemic for scientific research.
Collman described the plant-based chewing gum as “really clever.” And, hopes it can be scalable as the process is inexpensive too.
Now, the team is reportedly trying to secure permission for the gum to be used in a clinical trial. Here, they must ascertain whether it is safe to use on people infected with COVID-19.
Penn School of Dental Medicine began looking into COVID-19 because transmission remains a key problem in the pandemic. This is despite the roll-out of breakthrough vaccinations, as those who are vaccinated can still carry the virus.