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Year: 2022  Vol. 26   Num. 3  - Julyy/Sept
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1750202
Letters to the Editor
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Oral Antiseptic Spray Containing Phthalocyanine Solution Reduced Saliva SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load: Case Series
Bernardo da Fonseca Orcina, Emilene Cristine Izu Nakamura Pietro, Juliana Pescinelli Garcia Kuroda, Lucas Marques da Costa Alves, Mariana Schutzer Ragghianti Zangrando, Rodrigo Cardoso de Oliveira, Andra Name Colado Simo, Fabiano Vieira Vilhena, Paulo Srgio da Silva Santos
Since the 2019 global dissemination of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), scientific advancements have enabled researchers to develop different types of vaccines and other forms of prevention and treatment against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).[1] The oral cavity is related to the development of COVID-19 as it allows the virus direct access into the body.[2] [3] [4] According to the literature, clinical evidence has demonstrated that antiviral oral solutions can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 and reduce clinical symptoms and severity of COVID-19.[2] [5] [6] [7] [8] Based on previous in vitro studies employing antiviral phthalocyanine derivative (APD) solutions,[6] [9] this case series evaluated the action of an APD oral spray for viral load reduction in COVID-19 hospitalized patients.

Material and Methods
This prospective, single center, and consecutive case series study was conducted at a public hospital in Brazil, in accordance with the principles of the declaration of Helsinki and the ethical standards of human experimentation, with the approval of the human research ethics committee (CAAE 34070620.6.0000.5417). From November 1, 2020, to January 14, 2021, COVID-19 patients diagnosed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and admitted to the hospital were invited to participate. To be enrolled in the study, participants had to be 18 years or older and present with SARS for more than a week prior to admission. Participants signed an informed consent form after agreeing to the risks and objectives of the study. The exclusion criteria included patients who had medical contraindications to oral spray, an inability to gargle/spit, and a baseline negative salivary PCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Patients were instructed to use ∼ 1.5 mL of the APD solution (3 pumps for each area: throat, tongue, right cheek, and left cheek), switch between gargling/rinsing for 30 seconds, and conduct this regimen 5 times per day: upon awakening, after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and before bedtime. This adjunctive protocol was performed for 1 week along with standard COVID-19 treatment. Saliva was collected to evaluate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 (PCR) before initiation of the oral spray protocol (baseline), and again after 2 and 4 days of use.

A sample of 11 patients from 14 selected SARS-CoV-2-positive patients was enrolled in this study. According to [Table 1], 10 patients (91%) were male, and the median age was 58 years (range: 38-77 years). The median onset of symptoms was 5 days before admission, with a 5-day median length of hospital stay. Four patients (36.4%) had no comorbidities, and 1 patient (9%) was admitted to the intensive care unit and subsequently passed. All patients received standard care for COVID-19, including antibiotic, antiinflammatory, anticoagulation, and oxygen support therapy. Regarding salivary SARS-CoV-2 detection, 6 patients (54.5%) tested positive, and 5 patients (45.5%) tested negative after 2 days. After 4 days of APD oral spray use, 3 patients (27.3%) tested positive, and 8 (72.7%) tested negative. No side effects of using an APD oral spray have been reported.

In the present case series, the use of an APD oral spray protocol reduced the salivary SARS-CoV-2 viral load in COVID-19 hospitalized patients. According to the literature,[2] [3] [4] the oral environment is directly involved in the pathophysiology of COVID-19.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 can replicate in the oral mucosa and be transmitted by saliva. Oral antiviral solutions can reduce the viral load in saliva and decrease the spread of the virus. Our previous study[6] demonstrated clinical improvement and reduction in hospitalization time (4-day median length of hospital stay) when an APD oral solution was used as an adjuvant in a gargle/rinse mouthwash protocol in COVID-19 patients. In the present study, 91% of patients were discharged from the hospital with a 5-day median length of hospital stay. Thus, we hypothesized that the APD oral spray protocol plays a role in faster recovery without any side effects.

Considering the limitations of the present case series, the lack of a comparative placebo control and sample size may have influenced our interpretation of the results. However, the use of APD showed that 45.5% and 72.7% of the samples were PCR-negative for SARS-CoV2 after 2 and 4 days, respectively. Similar results were reported in a chlorhexidine oropharyngeal rinse-treated group (62.1%) and a combined chlorhexidine oropharyngeal rinse and posterior oropharyngeal spray-treated group (86%) after 4 days.[10]

Simple and low-cost measures, such as the use of antiviral substances in mouthwashes and mouth sprays, may accelerate COVID-19 recovery, thus reducing the progression of severe, life-threatening cases of the disease.

Considering the limitations of this case series, the results suggest that the use of an APD oral spray may reduce the salivary SARS-Cov-2 viral load. Further randomized controlled clinical trials with larger sample sizes using this protocol are necessary.

Conflict of Interests
The authors have no conflict of interests to declare.

1 Bakadia BM, He F, Souho T. et al. Prevention and treatment of COVID-19: Focus on interferons, chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and vaccine. Biomed Pharmacother 2021; 133: 111008 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopha.2020.111008.
2 Huang N, Prez P, Kato T. et al; NIH COVID-19 Autopsy Consortium, HCA Oral and Craniofacial Biological Network. SARS-CoV-2 infection of the oral cavity and saliva. Nat Med 2021; 27 (05) 892-903 DOI: 10.1038/s41591-021-01296-8.
3 Fernandes Matuck B, Dolhnikoff M, Maia GVA. et al. Periodontal tissues are targets for Sars-Cov-2: a post-mortem study. J Oral Microbiol 2020; 13 (01) 1848135 DOI: 10.1080/20002297.2020.1848135.
4 Matuck BF, Dolhnikoff M, Duarte-Neto AN. et al. Salivary glands are a target for SARS-CoV-2: a source for saliva contamination. J Pathol 2021; 254 (03) 239-243 DOI: 10.1002/path.5679.
5 Mateos-Moreno MV, Mira A, Ausina-Mrquez V, Ferrer MD. Oral antiseptics against coronavirus: in-vitro and clinical evidence. J Hosp Infect 2021; 113: 30-43 DOI: 10.1016/j.jhin.2021.04.004.
6 Santos PSS, Fonseca OrcinaB, Machado RRG. et al. Beneficial effects of a mouthwash containing an antiviral phthalocyanine derivative on the length of hospital stay for COVID-19: Randomised trial. Sci Rep 2021 Oct 7. PMID: 34620904; PMCID: PMC8497631.11(01):19937. Doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-99013
7 da Fonseca Orcina B, Vilhena FV, Cardoso de Oliveira R. et al. A Phthalocyanine Derivate Mouthwash to Gargling/Rinsing as an Option to Reduce Clinical Symptoms of COVID-19: Case Series. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent 2021; 13: 47-50 DOI: 10.2147/CCIDE.S295423.
8 Carrouel F, Valette M, Gadea E. et al. Use of an antiviral mouthwash as a barrier measure in the SARS-CoV-2 transmission in adults with asymptomatic to mild COVID-19: a multicentre, randomized, double-blind controlled trial. Clin Microbiol Infect 2021; 27 (10) 1494-1501
9 Santos C, da Fonseca Orcina B, Brito Reia VC. et al. Virucidal activity of the antiseptic mouthwash and dental gel containing anionic phthalocyanine derivative: in vitro study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent 2021; 13: 269-274 DOI: 10.2147/CCIDE.S315419.
10 Huang YH, Huang JT. Use of chlorhexidine to eradicate oropharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 in COVID-19 patients. J Med Virol 2021; 93 (07) 4370-4373 DOI: 10.1002/jmv.26954.

Address for correspondence
Paulo Srgio da Silva Santos, DDS, MD, PhD
Associate Professor Al. Dr. Octavio Pinheiro Brisolla
975, Vila Universitria, Bauru, SP 17012-901
Email: paulosss@fob.usp.br

Publication History
Received: 22 August 2021

Accepted: 02 May 2022

Article published online:
14 July 2022



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