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Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past five days?

You may be eligible to help Penn State College of Medicine researchers understand if nasal and oral rinses can reduce the amount of COVID-19 virus in an infected person.

Compensation provided. No travel is required.

Interested? Contact the study team today!

About the study

While the use of masks and social distancing can reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, additional ways are needed to slow the disease’s spread.

Penn State College of Medicine researchers are testing whether nasal rinses and mouth rinses can reduce the amount of virus in the mouth and nose of an infected person, which may help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the future.

Who can join this study?

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18-65
  • Have received a positive COVID-19 test in the past 5 days
  • Have a computer and smartphone device
  • Have reliable internet access to complete study activities

Additional criteria may apply.

Participation in this study is optional and does not replace treatment and medical care for a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Compensation of up to $100 is provided to participants.

What will I be asked to do in this study?

If you are eligible, you will be asked to participate in the following activities at the residence where you are isolating:

  • Use a nasal rinse and gargle mouthwash three times per day for four days
  • You will collect simple swabs from your nose and mouth before and after rinsing and gargling
  • Use a mobile application and a website accessed through your computer to answer daily questions

The participants will be randomly assigned to one of four groups.

You will not be able to pick which group you are assigned to. It is random, much like the roll of a dice or flip of a coin.

  • Group one: The first group will do nasal rinses with a diluted baby shampoo solution and gargle with saline (saltwater) solution
  • Group two: The second group will do nasal rinses with the saline solution (saltwater) and gargle with Listerine © mouthwash
  • Group three: The third group will do nasal rinses with a diluted baby shampoo solution and gargle with Listerine © mouthwash
  • Group four: The fourth group will do nasal rinses and gargle with saline solutions (saltwater)

Study staff will check in with participants daily by Zoom calls.

Researchers will measure viral load in the mouth and nose of participants over the course of five days using PCR testing, the same test used to diagnose COVID-19.

All study materials, including oral and nasal rinses, will be provided to you wherever you are isolating. No travel is required.

Meet the team

Rena Kass, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery and Medicine

Rena Kass, MD, is an associate professor of surgery and medicine and a member of the Penn State Faculty Senate. During her 17 years at Penn State Health, she has consistently strived to advance the health of patients and their families through the identification of critical problems and the creation of innovative solutions.

Dr. Kass has looked to develop an effective, inexpensive and widely available way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 that could serve as a complement to vaccines, mask use and social distancing. In collaboration with Dr. Craig Meyers and Dr. David Goldenberg, she procured funding through the Penn State Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences to study the effects of over-the-counter oral and nasal rinses against coronavirus. Her team found a greater than 90% reduction of viral load in in-vitro models of Listerine oral gargle and 1% dilute baby shampoo nasal rinse. This was published in the Journal of Medical Virology. She is excited about the current SARS-CoV-2 Nasal Pharyngeal and Oral Pharyngeal Wash (SNOW) clinical trial to evaluate the potential role of these common over-the-counter rinse products in the mitigation of COVID-19.

Learn more about Dr. Kass

Omrana Pasha, MBBS, MSPH
Professor, Department of Medicine and Public Health Sciences

Omrana Pasha, MBBS, MSPH, brings significant experience in research and education to the College of Medicine. As an intervention research specialist, Dr. Pasha brings over 20 years of experience in the conduct of clinical trials.
Learn more about Dr. Pasha

Craig Meyers, MS, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director of the Training Program in Viruses and Cancer

Craig Meyers, MS, PhD, has nearly 40 years of virology research, including measuring viral loads by polymerase chain reaction.

Learn more about Dr. Meyers

David Goldenberg, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology

David Goldenberg, MD, is an expert in head and neck diseases and the maintenance of health of the ears nose and throat regions. Dr. Goldenberg has more than 20 years of experience and has been federally funded for his research efforts.

Learn more about Dr. Goldenberg


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For more information

If you have any questions or are interested in participating, please contact the study team:

This research has been approved by the Institutional Review Board, under federal regulations at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine as IRB #00016947.