Listerine Says No To Sen. Ron Johnson: Mouthwash Won’t Prevent COVID

Wisconsin Republican and Trump loyalist Senator Ron Johnson, who has repeatedly promoted debunked medical advice, said on Wednesday that mouthwash can help prevent COVID infections.

Johnson, whose YouTube account was suspended earlier this year for violating the company’s medical disinformation policies, has been called in by medical experts for pushing even more questionable COVID advice during a virtual town hall.

“The standard gargle, mouthwash has been proven to kill coronavirus,” Johnson said, according to a recording released by the Wisconsin outlet. Heart signal. “If you get it, you can reduce viral replication. Why not try all of these things? “

Johnson defended comments on Twitter, linked to a study published by the National Institutes of Health that found that mouthwash may reduce the burden of coronavirus in saliva.

But while it looks like mouthwash can kill viral particles in the mouth, most people get infected through their nasal passages and sinuses, according to medical experts.

“Even if gargling kills some of the virus, it won’t be able to clean the nasal area, nor viruses that have already penetrated deeper into the body,” Kim Woo-Joo, infectious disease expert at The Washington, told The Washington. ‘University of Korea. To post.

While there’s nothing wrong with using a mouthwash, Raymond Niaura, who chairs New York University’s epidemiology department, told the Post that gargles should be accompanied by a vaccination.

“That way you would be at reduced risk of infection and you would have good breath,” he said.

RELATED: GOP Representative Andy Harris Could Lose Medical License After Pushing Fake COVID Treatments

On the website for Listerine, America’s best-known brand of antiseptic mouthwash, the company advises dental professionals that its products “are not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19 and should be used only as directed on the product label ”.

Johnson & Johnson, which makes Listerine, also notes that despite lab reports of mouthwashes “having activity against enveloped viruses, including the coronavirus, there is insufficient data available and no evidence-based clinical conclusion can be found. be drawn regarding the anti- viral efficacy of LISTERINE Antiseptic Mouthwash at this time. “

Crest, which produces Crest and Scope mouthwash products, also warns that its products “have not been tested against any strain of the coronavirus” and are “not intended to prevent or treat Covid.”

Johnson also promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug endlessly touted by Donald Trump during his presidency, which many studies have found to be of no value in treating COVID and could be dangerous for some. users.

Johnson has also joined the right-wing chorus pushing ivermectin, an antiparasitic drug that has also failed to demonstrate benefits as a COVID therapy. The conservative hype surrounding the drug earlier this year sparked a race for high-dose ivermectin products for livestock, prompting the FDA to issue a warning that high doses of the drug could be fatal.

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, all of you. Stop,” the agency said. said on twitter during the summer.


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While promoting discredited treatments, Johnson has repeatedly expressed doubts about COVID vaccines, which have been rigorously proven safe and effective, especially when accompanied by a booster dose. Some anti-vaccines have used bizarre and potentially dangerous products to prevent COVID infections.

Anti-vaccine advocates have promoted Betadine, a povidone iodine-based antiseptic used to cleanse cuts or as a gargle for sore throats. The company’s manufacturer issued a warning earlier this year that the product has not been shown to be effective against COVID and that ingestion could cause serious stomach problems, including a burn of the gastrointestinal tract. intestinal tract of a user.

Anti-vaccines that have given in to vaccination mandates have also used products like the borax household cleaner in an alleged attempt to “cancel” their vaccinations, which is not possible.

Johnson has been one of the leading Republican voices to harbor distrust of proven medical advice, saying the country has “overreacted” to the pandemic and making false claims suggesting that the vaccines themselves could to be dangerous”. Last week, on Fox News host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show, Johnson alleged that Dr Anthony Fauci, who led the country’s response to the HIV / AIDS pandemic as director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had “overexposed” both AIDS and COVID.

“Fauci did the exact same thing with AIDS. He exaggerated it,” Johnson said. “He created all kinds of fears, saying it could affect the whole population when it didn’t. He’s using the exact same playbook with COVID, skipping therapy, pushing a vaccine.”

In an interview with CNN On Sunday, Fauci called Johnson’s claim “crass.”

“Overcome AIDS? He killed more than 750,000 Americans and 36 million worldwide. How do you exaggerate that? He asked himself. “Overhyping COVID? He’s already killed 780,000 Americans and over 5 million people worldwide. I have no idea what he’s talking about.”

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