How sea salt could help lessen early coronavirus symptoms

New research has suggested that a simple saltwater solution could help lessen early symptoms and the progression of coronavirus.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh believe sea salt could boost the antiviral defence of cells that kicks in when you are affected by a cold.

The study builds on a trial published in 2019, which found participants who gargled and cleared their nose with a saltwater solution had fewer coughs and less congestion.

Researchers are now recruiting adults in Scotland to take part in trials to investigate if the same solution can benefit those with Covid-19 symptoms.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, director of the university’s Usher Institute, said: “We are now moving to trial our saltwater intervention in those with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, and hope it will prove to be a useful measure to reduce the impact and spread of the infection.

“It only requires salt, water and some understanding of procedure so should – if found to be effective – be easy and inexpensive to implement widely.”

Half of the participants in the original pilot study – known as the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study, or Elvis – gargled saltwater while the other dealt with a cold as they normally would.

Those joining the new trial will be asked to follow government advice on hygiene and self-isolation with one group again asked to gargle and clear their nose with salt water.

To find out more about the study and to take part, visit www.ed.ac.uk/usher/elvis-covid-19

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