Promising news that certain mouthwashes containing CPC technology could prove helpful in reducing the spread of coronavirus have reinforced the value of purpose-led partnerships and the innovation ecosystem Unilever is driving.

Recent lab (in vitro) test results conducted at Microbac Laboratories, an independent and internationally accredited testing facility working on behalf of Unilever Research Laboratories, show that CPC-based mouthwashes can provide an important additional preventative measure against the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, by effectively dissolving its outer protective layer.

The oral care breakthrough has been months in the making and is the result of one of several collaborative innovation projects Unilever has undertaken with external experts in science and academic research.

The power of partnership

To further explore the benefits of mouthwash against the Covid-19 virus, Unilever has joined forces with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to conduct additional studies. This includes ex vivo laboratory tests of CPC-based mouthwash on human saliva, which will be important in better understanding the mechanism by which mouthwash could help in reducing the transmission of the virus.

Internationally recognised as being at the forefront of scientific research into infectious diseases, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is playing a leading role in the UK in assessing the effectiveness of treatments and preventative measures relating to Covid-19.

The joint research programme with Unilever is backed by the UK government’s Strength in Places Fund which looks to deliver innovative solutions to tackling human infections. As one of the first studies to benefit from the fund, Unilever and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine will aim to develop new products that can directly reduce the burden of infectious diseases in the UK and around the world.

Senior Lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Dr Grant Hughes says the collaboration highlights the value of academia and industry working together in the infection-related R&D ecosystem: “This academic–business partnership is a key collaboration in the fight against Covid-19 and offers a real opportunity for providing a low-cost, easy and readily available preventative measure to support the public health agenda, including in the poorest of countries.”

Further research to protect public health

Unilever, together with its research partners, is also conducting additional studies into the benefits of other oral care products in helping to reduce the transmission of the Covid-19 virus. This includes tests which will determine how long the benefits of CPC technology last, as well as a planned clinical trial of at least 50 Covid-19 patients.

Commenting on the emerging science in oral care, Glyn Roberts, Head of Unilever Oral Care R&D, says: “The latest discovery from our recent lab test with Microbac Laboratories has shown how science can continue to break boundaries and benefit public health. With a more contagious coronavirus variant spreading, we need to do all that we can to help prevent the transmission of the disease. With the help of our partners and external experts in science and academia, we will continue to drive open innovation and understand the benefits oral care products can have in reducing transmission rates.”

To learn more about the role CPC-based mouthwashes can play in helping to reduce the spread of coronavirus, watch Glyn Roberts, Head of Unilever Oral Care R&D, in conversation with virologist Dr Angela Rasmussen.

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