Newswise — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, researchers at the University of Kentucky are exploring the use of an antiseptic nasal spray and gargle to prevent transmission and infection of the virus among healthcare workers and non-COVID patients. The PIIPPI trial, which stands for Povidone-Iodine Intranasal for Prophylaxis in front-line Physicians/health care workers and Inpatients, is the first in the country to study iodine as a prevention measure in people who are not COVID-positive.
Because front-line health care workers are involved in high-risk procedures, and in some cases are reusing personal protective equipment, like masks, and because patients are also at risk of infection, the researchers say finding ways to reduce viral load and viral exposure are paramount. Iodine is an established antiseptic against other viruses and is currently being studied for potentially reducing viral load among people who have active COVID infections.
Participants in the clinical trial will be swabbed to assess for active infection and then started on the nasal spray and gargle if eligible. They will be retested at the end of the trial period or when/if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The researchers say that if the clinical trial shows that the nasal spray and gargle are effective in preventing the spread of infection, it could provide a form of chemical personal protection for health care workers and patients.