News Center

Could a Chewing Gum Reduce COVID-19 Spread? Researchers Believe It Can

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are working to create a special chewing gum that could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by "trapping" the virus so a person can't transmit it to someone else.

Experts agree that vaccinations are the best way to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's also known that vaccinated people can still transmit the virus. The University of Pennsylvania researchers are hoping that their chewing gum will give people a low-cost way to further prevent COVID-19 from spreading.

"This gum offers an opportunity to neutralize the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission," Henry Daniell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and leader of the research, told Penn Today.

The gum contains plant-grown ACE2 proteins, which showed in laboratory studies to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus. When researchers exposed saliva samples from COVID-19 patients to the modified chewing gum, they found the levels of viral RNA were "drastically reduced" to the point that the virus was almost undetectable.