According to scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Citriodiol was found within an insect repellent issued to armed forces. They did this as it was thought the repellent may offer an added layer of protection from the virus. Research conducted by the group, now claims Citriodiol may kill the strain of coronavirus which causes COVID-19.
Officials from the DSTL are now sharing their findings in order to help further research.
Citriodiol was already known to kill off other types of coronavirus but results published today, now point to the product as being effective against COVID-19, Sky News has reported.
The mosquito spray is used in conjunction with face masks and other hygiene procedures for added protection in the army.
On its own, it is not thought to be sufficient against the virus although the company which produces Citriodiol has previously called for formal testing to begin.
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Jacqueline Watson, managing director of Citrefine International Ltd, said: “What we can say is that we do feel there is a very good chance it could work against this virus but it does of course need to be thoroughly tested.”
Citriodiol is found in insect repellents such as Mosi Guard.
The UK armed forced decided to press ahead with issuing the repellent due to the large number in stock.
Indeed, due to the spray not having any negative side effects, the Army used the spray without hearing back from the results.
Coronavirus: The repellent was issued in April
Citriodiol is made from the oil from the leaves and branches of the eucalyptus citriodora tree.
Only Citriodiol has been shown as a key ingredient, other products containing Deet are not thought to be effective.
When the army began issuing the repellent at the start of the outbreak, there was hope it could be included in hand wash or on face masks.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “The protection and well-being of armed forces personnel is a priority.
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“To help them remain healthy and available for duty the MoD is considering what additional measures can help their immune systems to stay fighting fit.”
Citridiol has been previously used to prevent SARS 1.
Mosi-Guard containing Citridiol, is not widely sold on the British high street.
It can be bought on the Mosi-Guard website and Amazon.
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Away from the potential use of the repellent, trials for a needleless vaccine are being developed by the University of Cambridge have begun.
The proposed DIOS-CoVax2 vaccine could be delivered by a single jet of air.
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The research team has also used 3D computer modelling to analyse the structure of SARS-CoV-2.
Professor Jonathan Heeney, head of the Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics at the University of Cambridge, and founder of DIOSynVax, said: “We’re looking for chinks in its armour, crucial pieces of the virus that we can use to construct the vaccine to direct the immune response in the right direction.
“Ultimately we aim to make a vaccine that will not only protect from SARS-CoV-2, but also other related coronaviruses that may spill over from animals to humans.”