FEV: Black tea inactivates SARS-CoV-2 in saliva

April 9, 2024  15:13

Researchers from the University of Georgia have found that tea without milk or sugar can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in saliva, which partially prevents the virus from entering the lower respiratory system. The findings are published in the journal Food and Environmental Virology (FEV).

The aim of the study by scientists from the US was to examine the antibacterial and antiviral properties of five varieties of tea (green, black, raspberry zinger, eucalyptus and mint). The researchers prepared the drinks without added milk or sugar, using one teabag of each variety per cup. The teas were then allowed to infuse for ten minutes and alternately added to saliva samples from coronavirus-infected people in test tubes.

The results of the experiment showed that all five types of tea reduced the virus activity by at least 96 per cent within 10 seconds of being in the saliva samples. Black tea had the most pronounced antiviral properties - it was able to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 by 99.9%.

Scientists noted that the virus initially multiplies inside the oral cavity and passes through the oropharynx before reaching the lungs. Its inactivation in the mouth may prevent it from entering the lower respiratory system. According to the researchers, the tea owes its antibacterial and antiviral effects to polyphenols - special plant compounds in its composition. To find out whether tea mouthwash is effective in fighting coronavirus in real-life conditions, additional human studies are needed.

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