Does Daily Hydrogen Peroxide Antisepsis Protect Against COVID-19?

Regardless of vaccination status, health care workers were protected with daily and regular hydrogen peroxide antisepsis.

Daily and regular use of hydrogen peroxide (HP) as an antiseptic is demonstrated to give protection against COVID-19 curtails health care-acquired spread of SARS-CoV-2.

in health care workers (HCW) in 2 hospitals, the Shai-Osudoku Hospital (SODH), Dodowa, and the Mount Olives Hospital (MOH), Techiman, Ghana, between May 2020 and December 2021. The study, “Further observations on hydrogen peroxide antisepsis (HPA) and COVID-10 cases among healthcare workers and inpatients” was recently published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

“The significant clinical evidence of HP protection against COVID-19, and likewise considering that it is also quite safe, inexpensive, and readily available, makes it a valuable prophylaxis to be recommended to protect HCW, inpatients, and all vulnerable groups against COVID-19,” the investigators noted in the study. “These vulnerable groups might include the unvaccinated, the elderly, those in long term care facilities or homes, sportsmen and sportswomen, teachers, students, front-line security service personnel, airline crew, pregnant and lactating women.”

The investigators’ observations indicated that daily and regular use for 1 minute duration of HP in low concentrations as a 1% mouthwash and throat gargle, and 0.5% for nasal rinse for the same amount of time, effectively protects against SARS-CoV-2 infections. This imitates HP’s mode of action when used on inanimate surfaces to inactivate coronaviruses. The investigators say that HP, therefore, has the potential to mitigate this pandemic, a solution simpler than had been imagined when it had been proposed previously.

“HP could further mitigate the pandemic when used by both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, by inactivating the viruses these patients shed,” the investigators wrote.

The numbers are clear in the study: HPA demonstrated protection against SARS-CoV-2. At SODH from May to December 2020, 62 (13.5%) COVID-19 cases were noted among 458 HCW not on HPA, but none among 8 on HPA (P = 0.622). Between January and March 2021, 10 (2.7%) of 372 HCW had COVID-19, but none among 94 HCW on HPA (P = 0.206).

At MOH, prior to HPA, 17 (20.2%) of 84 HCW and 5 (1.4%) of 370 inpatients had COVID-19 in July 2020. From August 2020 to March 2021, 2 of 54 (3.7%) who discontinued HPA had COVID-19; 0 of the 32 staff not on HPA contracted it. At SODH from April to December 2021, none of 23 unvaccinated HCW on HPA had COVID-19; 35 (64%) of 55 not on HPA contracted it (P < 0.0001). None of 34 vaccinated HCW on HPA contracted COVID-19, compared with 53 (13.6%) of 390 not on HPA who had it (P = 0.015). No inpatient on HP prophylactic antisepsis (total 7736) contracted COVID-19.

The investigators describe this study as “real-world observational study,” and they collected no personal data, such as age, gender, co-morbidities, or clinical information from HP-HCW, NHP-HCW, vaccinated, unvaccinated, or in inpatients. They did not consider the influence of co-variates nor was the HPA randomized, as the decision to use HPA was personal at SODH and persuaded by management and not the investigative team at MOH.

“The study, nevertheless, provides useful information of evidential value to fill a knowledge gap of clinical evidence that HPA protects against SARS-CoV-2 infections,” the investigators noted in the article.