UPDATED: Science-Based Best Practices Against Covid-19
Dr. Nansen G. Saleri • Updated: 1/7/2021
The purpose of this memo is to highlight Best Practices of Defense against COVID-19 based on the growing body of scientific evidence in support of nasal and oral hygiene. The fact that there are multiple, super effective vaccines on the horizon make it even more important to be vigilant against COVID-19 until the vaccines will be readily available to the general public and in recognition of the fact that new variants of the virus might also make the defensive measures noted below more relevant.3 Best Practices
- Make Nasal & Oral Hygiene Part of Your Daily Routine
- Wear a Mask & Practice Social Distancing
- Avoid Crowds
- Why this memo? Don’t we already have information overload on COVID-19?
While there is an abundance of public safety pronouncements on masks and handwashing, there is virtually none in support of nasal and oral hygiene. Even worse, what is being opined in the media lacks a serious, objective scientific backing. Remedying this conspicuous omission in public education (a clear case of willful ignorance) will save lives at an infinitesimal fraction of the costs that are resulting from this pandemic. It should also be a universal priority to safely operating schools and colleges while allowing businesses to return to safe operations.
- What is the scientific basis for nasal and oral hygiene?
COVID-19 virus enters the body mainly through the nose and throat. These entry points have long been recognized by allergy sufferers and scientists alike. Investigators at European and American Research Institutions identified two cell types in the nose that have surface receptor sites specific to this virus (Nature, May 2020).1 These cells appear to be “the doorway” to the disease. They allow initial viral attachment, infection, replication, and the spread of the virus. A targeted attack at these key access and exit portals will add a powerful protection to our presently adopted protocols of hand washing, masks, and safe distancing.
- Why is heat injurious to COVID-19?
Did you know that as with MERS, SARS, and the influenza virus, COVID-19 has an Achilles heel – an oily/lipid outer shell that is susceptible to heat, soap, and commonly known, safe disinfectants including steam. Many lipids typically have melting points ranging from 20° to 40°C – hence the likely explanation why local hyperthermia (such as steam or hot water as tolerable) will be disruptive to the virus viability.2,3,4 Lab experiments by Chan2 clearly establish significant (3 log10) degradation of SARS coronavirus viability with higher temperatures (at 38°C).
- Is there clinical evidence in support of heat and steam treatment?
Yes, there is. A recent study5 authored by seven medical researchers (five of which are MDs) at Seven Hills Covid Hospital in Mumbai, India reported exceptionally effective results among a group of 105 patients and healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19. All 80 patients that tested positive and were symptomatic recovered. Additionally, a 2020 study by a group of nine University of Florence researchers reported similarly successful results.6
The question remains as to why there are not many other similar clinical studies given the strong science-based rationale as supported by Endnote References.2,3,4,5,6,7,8
- What are practical steps for nasal hygiene?
- Hot showers as tolerated with nasal rinse and steam inhalation (twice a day).
- 1% baby shampoo nasal rinse solution inactivated COVID-19 with a 99.9% efficacy using a 2-minute contact time.7,8,9
- Povidone iodine under medical supervision.8
- What are practical steps for oral hygiene?
Gargling with Listerine or other Listerine-like products with a 30-second contact time is effective to destroy 99.9% of the virus. 7,8,9
- Are these steps also effective against new strains of the virus?
The measures described above are applicable to a general class of viruses such as MERS, SARS, and COVID-19 which all have an oily/lipid outer shell. Furthermore there is virtually no downside to the recommended measures. Hence the likelihood of their efficacy to new strains is very high.
Dr. Nansen G. Saleri
1Sungnak, W., Huang, N., Bécavin, C. et al. SARS-CoV-2 entry factors are highly expressed in nasal epithelial cells together with innate immune genes. Nat Med 26, 681–687 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0868-6
2Chan, K.H. et.al. The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. Advances in Virology. Volume 2011, Article ID 734690. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/734690
3Cohen M. Turning up the heat on COVID-19: heat as a therapeutic intervention [version 2; peer review: 2 approved]. F1000Research 2020, 9:292 https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.23299.2
4Lowen, Anice C. and Steel, John. Roles of Humidity and Temperature in Shaping Influenza Seasonality. Journal of Virology. DOI 10.1128 (2014). http://jvi.asm.org/content/88/14/7692.abstract
5PawarD, AdsulB, BhallaR, et al. Use of steam as adjuvant-treatment in covid-19 patients : an observational study. Ind Med Gaz. 2020: 1–2. Indian Medical Gazette
6 la Marca, G., Barp J., Frenos S., et al. Thermal inactivation of SARS COVID-2 virus: Are steam inhalations a potential treatment?, Life Sciences, Volume 265 (2021).
7Meyers, C, Robison, R, Milici, J, et al. Lowering the Transmission and Spread of Human Coronavirus. J Med Virol. 2020; 1– 8. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26514
8Eggers, M., Koburger-Janssen, T., Eickmann, M. et al. In Vitro Bactericidal and Virucidal Efficacy of Povidone Iodine Gargle/Mouthwash Against Respiratory and Oral Tract Pathogens. Infect Dis Ther 7, 249–259 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40121-018-0200-7
9Ramalingam, S., Graham, C., Dove, J. et al. A pilot, open labelled, randomised controlled trial of hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargling for the common cold. Sci Rep 9, 1015 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-37703-3
NOTE: My main goal in distributing this information is to bring about more public awareness to the fact that we as Americans and global citizens are not helpless against COVID-19. If you like the contents, please feel free to disseminate liberally via all channels available to you.
Chairman and CEO, Quantum Reservoir Impact (QRI), Houston, www.qrigroup.com;
President and Cofounder, Kristin Saleri Art Foundation (KSAF), Houston, www.kristinsaleri.com