While a coronavirus vaccine is still a long way from production, experts are continuously conducting trials in the hope of finding an effective preventive measure to stop the spread of the virus. A study has stated that insect repellent could kill other coronaviruses including SARS and also prevent the virus from infecting humans.
According to The Daily Mail's previous report, The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has been distributing mosquito spray as an additional layer of protection to soldiers on the COVID front line. Experts claim that that it could neutralize coronaviruses without causing any harm to an individual.
Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defense, said that their personnel was provided with Citriodiol-based spray since the Surgeon General advised that it wouldn't do any harm.
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But, the MP clarified that insect repellent should be used as a precautionary basis as a protective layer to prevent exposure from the novel coronavirus. Last month, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defense Select Committee, wrote a letter asking Wallace for details on the use of the spray.
Can Coronavirus be neutralized by insect repellent? MOD provides soldiers with mosquito spray for additional protection against COVID-19
According to The Daily Mail, the citriodiol found in Mosi-guard was previously proved to destroy the layer which surrounds the virus, killing other coronaviruses including SARS. However, tests are still being conducted by MOD to determine if citriodiol can also kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19.
"Weaker Citriodiol spray solutions form a barrier on the skin and have been found to provide a barrier against variants of the Sars virus similar to that causing the current pandemic," said the defense secretary.
"It is not possible to confirm the number of Armed Forces personnel who have used the product, but Defence has provided a Citriodiol-based spray to each of the 10 Joint Military Commands, which have been delegated the authority to provide to their personnel wherever required," he added.
It was reiterated in the report that if the chemical is proven to be effective against the virus, it could offer protection for several hours since it is resistant to evaporation. Official tests at the government's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) located at Porton Down, are currently being conducted to observe the effects of insect repellent. Last month, Mosi-guard was distributed to some soldiers as part of enhanced measures to stop the further spread of COVID-19.
"Citriodiol is known to have anti-viral properties and has been used as a barrier against the SARS 1 virus. 'Its utility for protecting against COVID-19 is, therefore, being explored by the Ministry of Defence as an additional protective measure for personnel working on the response," said an MOD spokesperson.
Citrefine, a Leeds-based company and manufacturer of Mosi-guard, urged the government to consider its product earlier this week. However, a spokesperson of the company clarified that there is no data yet proving the effectiveness of the chemical against COVID-19.