While new cases of coronavirus’ new variant omicron are giving ugly flashbacks, scientists are working on finding ways to stop or at least minimise the spread of the virus. The scientists are reportedly developing a chewing gum made with plant-grown protein that caters as a “trap” for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. It will reduce the viral load in saliva and might even lower the transmission. Also Read - Pandemic game has been removed from PC, Android and iOS: Here's a look why
According to Henry Daniell, University of Pennsylvania, US, “Chewing gum with virus-trapping proteins offers a general affordable strategy to protect patients from most oral virus re-infections through debulking or minimizing transmission to others.” Also Read - Weekend curfew begins: 5 ways to make your weekend fun without stepping out
The researchers also revealed that fully vaccinated people can also get infected with SARS-CoV-2 and transmit the virus to unvaccinated people.
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As per Daniell, “SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone who is infected sneezes, coughs or speaks some of that virus can be expelled and reach others.”
He further adds, “This gum offers an opportunity to neutralise the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission.”
The study was conducted on saliva and swab samples from hospitalised patients with confirmed COVID-19. According to the research, the gun has copies of the ACE2 protein on cell surfaces that spike protein that coronavirus uses to break into cells and infect them. During the research, the virus particles attached to the ACE2 receptors in the gum which led to fell of the viral load by more than 95%.
As for the taste, “the gum has physical characteristics and taste/flavor like conventional gums”. The scientists have assured that no protein was lost during gum compression. This chewing gum can be stored for years at normal temperatures.
Notably, this gum can prove to be useful for countries that face a shortage of vaccination. The chewing gum is made from clinical-grade plant material and was developed to meet FDA requirements. However, it isn’t available for use yet as scientists in the US are still testing it.