New research shows that a simple saline solution stops replication of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — almost in its tracks.
The study began in early 2020 and was reported on the preprint server bioRxiV in August 2020. It's now published in the journal Pharmacology & Translational Science, with the authors saying "In this study, we found that 1.5% NaCl inhibited virus replication by 100% in Vero cells, and 1.1% NaCl was sufficient to inhibit virus replication by 88% in Calu-3 cells."
The researchers based their work on previous confirmed success with in vitro activity of sodium chloride (NaCl) against other RNA viruses such as mengovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza A, human coronavirus 229E and coxsackievirus B3.
The solution they used is considered "hypertonic," in other words, it has a higher concentration of dissolved NaCl in it than would normally be found in an NaCl solution. Using the formula on monkey kidney cells, they found it's possible that "hypertonic solutions could be investigated as a prophylaxis or an alternative treatment for COVID-19 patients."
Noting that "nebulized 3% hypertonic saline treatment for infants with moderate to severe bronchiolitis is safe without any adverse events, such as bronchospasm, cough, or wheezing aggravation" and that previous studies show that "hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargling may have played a role in reducing symptoms and duration of illness caused by COVID-19," they proposed that COVID treatment could involve a hypertonic form of nasal saline.
Haidut.me September 22, 2021
Pharmacology & Translational Science March 15, 2021
bioRxiv Preprint August 6, 2020