Unilever Mouthwash contains technology now proven to help reduce viral load of SARS-CoV-2 virus by 99.9%

  • New in vitro test results show that a mouthwash from Unilever containing CPC Technology is effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 viral load by 99.9%. This test was conducted by an independent and internationally accredited testing facility, Microbac Laboratories, on behalf of Unilever Research Laboratories2 .
  • The preliminary test results show that using mouthwashes with CPC Technology could have an important role as a preventative measure to reduce viral transmission of COVID-19, in addition to preventing many other oral diseases and problems when used as directed on pack.
  • CPC Technology is already used widely by the dental industry and is known for its anti-virus properties.
Illustration of scientist

While we are clear that this is not a cure or proven way to prevent the transmission of coronavirus , our results are very promising, and given the critical stage of the pandemic we feel it is important to share them so that people are aware of the potential benefits of our mouthwash containing CPC technology alongside other preventative measures.

Glyn Roberts PhD, Head of Unilever Oral Care Research and Development
  • Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is working on bringing this technology to India in December 2020 and will launch it under Pepsodent Germicheck Mouth Rinse Liquid.
Pepsodent Germicheck Mouth Rinse Liquid

Mumbai, November 21st, 2020: Unilever has confirmed that preliminary lab test results, show that mouthwash formulation containing CPC Technology, reduces 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after 30 seconds of rinsing2. This technology will be brought to India by Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) in Pepsodent Germicheck Mouth Rinse Liquid, which will launch in India in December 2020.

The preliminary test results on SARS-CoV-2 build on existing Unilever research published on the biology research platform bioRxiv, and follow ongoing discussions in the global medical and scientific community around the potential use of mouthwash as an additional measure to reduce the transmission of the virus. Research into the duration of the effect continues, but a previous study4 on a small group of patients infected with COVID-19 suggest that viral load – the amount of virus particles a person is carrying may be reduced in the mouth for up to six hours with mouthwashes containing CPC Technology.

These preliminary test results showing the efficacy of CPC Technology against the SARS-CoV-2 virus are the latest in a large range of studies that are evaluating the efficacy of mouthwash technology against a number of viruses. In the tests Unilever has done, only CPC Technology has to date shown consistent, positive results.

An illustration showing how the virus that causes Covid-19 spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose

The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose, which has been detected before, during, and after the acute phase of illness, as well as in asymptomatic cases . Therefore, reducing the viral load in the mouth could help to reduce transmission. The findings indicate that mouthwash could become an important addition to other everyday protective measures like handwashing, physical distancing and mask wearing.

An illustration showing how mouthwash with CPC technology has potential to reduce 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2 in an in vitro test

Madalasa Srivastava, Head, R&D, Oral Care South Asia, says, “The results of the study are a promising step on our journey to understanding how mouthwashes could help reduce the spread of coronavirus alongside other preventative measures. Although our research is ongoing, we are sharing the results now so people can consider introducing a CPC-based mouthwash, such as Pepsodent Germicheck Mouth Rinse Liquid, into their daily routine. This will be an additional effort in HUL’s pursuit to serve our consumers during the pandemic.”

Dr. Ashok D. Dhoble, Hon. Secretary General of the Indian Dental Association, and an expert in oral health says, “It is welcome news indeed that a Mouthwash with CPC Technology could potentially have a role to play in our fight against COVID-19. Given the new promising in vitro research from Unilever on the viral efficacy of the mouthwash on SARS-CoV-2, I believe that the use of mouthwashes containing CPC Technology must be encouraged amongst the general public as it may have the potential to help reduce transmission. Even as we wait for further evidence from clinical studies, I would encourage people to make Mouthwash with CPC Technology a part of their daily hygiene routine, in addition to other protective measures such as the wearing of masks, frequent washing of hands with soap and water, and social distancing. The Indian Dental Association (IDA) recognises the importance of this mouthwash technology from Unilever as it will help to protect the public in the current pandemic.”

1 In vitro test which attempts to simulate viral load in the mouth

2 Results subject to final audit

3 All references to coronavirus refer to ‘SARS-CoV-2’, the virus strain responsible for Covid-19

4 Efficacy of commercial mouth-rinses on SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva: Randomized Control Trial in Singapore (non-Unilever research)

5 WHO: https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1 and L.L. Fernandes et al., Journal of Dental Research, 1–9 https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0022034520960070

Notes to editors

What is CPC? Cetylpyridinium chloride is a widely used cosmetic ingredient, also used by the dental industry, and is known for its antibacterial and anti-virus benefits.

How was the testing carried out? The tests were carried out by independent laboratories in the United States. We tested for both 30 and 60 seconds, rinse times, aiming to replicate the real-life use of mouthwash in an in-vitro context.

What do the results show? The preliminary results show a mouthwash formulation containing CPC (cetylpyridinium chloride) is effective in reducing the viral load by 99.9% after 30 seconds of rinsing2, which is consistent with typical usage of mouthwash. The tests do not suggest that the formulation is a treatment for COVID-19, nor a guarantee that it will prevent transmission on its own. Established protective measures advised by health authorities should be followed, including hand washing, physical distancing and wearing masks.

What about alcohol in mouthwash? Mouthwashes that contain alcohol (ethanol) typically contain it at 11-14%. Data suggests at this concentration and time relevant to mouthwash use, ethanol is unlikely to be effective against viruses.

Media Enquires:

Mediacentre.hul@unilever.com

About Hindustan Unilever Limited

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods Company with a heritage of over 85 years in India. On any given day, nine out of ten Indian households use our products to feel good, look good and get more out of life, giving us a unique opportunity to build a brighter future. For more information visit www.hul.com.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. It has 150,000 employees and generated sales of €52 billion in 2019. Over half of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world, including Dove, Knorr, Dirt Is Good, Rexona, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, Lux, Magnum, Axe, Sunsilk and Surf.

Unilever has contributed more than €100m to help people affected around the world by the pandemic. This includes product donations of soap, sanitiser, bleach, and food. Unilever is working to make its mouthwash products with CPC available to front line workers. For more information, please click here.

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