Coronavirus: Researchers to trial salt water as Covid-19 treatment

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The use of salt water in the treatment of Covid-19 is to be trialled by researchers in Edinburgh.

Previous research has suggested the homemade remedy can help reduce symptoms of a common cold.

It found people who gargled and cleared their nose with a salt water solution reported fewer coughs, less congestion and seemed to recover quicker.

Edinburgh University scientists will investigate if the remedy can also help people with the new coronavirus.

The study is now recruiting adults in Scotland with Covid-19 symptoms or who are confirmed as having the virus.

The original pilot study - known as the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study, or Elvis - recruited healthy adults within two days of them contracting a type of upper respiratory tract infection commonly known as a cold.

They were divided into two groups with one group asked to gargle and rinse their nasal passages with a salt solution as they felt necessary.

The other group dealt with the cold the way they normally would do.

'Useful measure'

All participants kept a diary of their symptoms for up to two weeks. Self-collected swabs were also tested to measure the amount of the cold virus in their nose.

Researchers said those who carried out nasal irrigation and gargling with the salty solution experienced a shorter cold, were less likely to pass it on to their family, had faster viral clearance and were less likely to use medicines from a pharmacy.

Prof Aziz Sheikh, director of the university's Usher Institute, said: "We are now moving to trial our salt water 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."

The study is funded by Breathe - the data research hub for respiratory health.

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