Samples of the coronavirus were tested against three concentrations of iodine solution antiseptic.
After 15 seconds, the solution completely inactivated the virus, even at the lowest concentration of 0.5%.
Researchers say washing the nose out with iodine could prevent the virus transmission and decrease the viral load that travels to the lungs.
Washing your nose and mouth with an iodine solution could prevent you from being infected with the novel coronavirus, a new study suggests.
In a laboratory, researchers poured solutions of the antiseptic povidone-iodine (PVP-I) at three different concentrations on a sample of the virus.
They found that even a concentration of just 0.5 percent completely inactivated SARS-CoV-2 in as little as 15 seconds.
The team, from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, says the rinses could prevent person-to-person spread of the virus and prevent a severe cases by decreasing the amount of virus that travels to the lungs.
It is well-known that the nose contains high levels of the receptor ACE-2, which the virus uses to enter and infect human cells.
Therefore, several clinical trials have focused on nasal irrigations and washes as a way to curb the pandemic, which has killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
Previous research has found that PVP-I has been effective at inactivating pathogens related to the new virus including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
For the study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, the team tested samples of the virus against solutions in which PVP-I was the sole active ingredient.
The solution was diluted at three different concentrations, 0.5 percent, 1.25 percent, and 2.5 percent.
PVP-I concentrations were then compared with a 70 percent ethanol solution and watched for reactions after 15 seconds and 30 seconds.
All three iodine antiseptics, even the one at the lowest concentration, completely inactivated the virus within 15 seconds of contact.
However, the ethanol control was not able to completely kill SARS-CoV-2 over the same time period.
This study demonstrates that a contact time of 15 seconds is sufficient for viral inactivation,' the authors wrote.
'Widespread use of PVP-I nasal antiseptic in patients prior to intranasal procedures could significantly decrease risk of virus transmission via droplet and aerosol spread.'
They add that clinicians could instruct patients to rinse their noses with PVP-I before appointments or procedures to avoid spread in waiting rooms or other common areas.
What's more, researchers say this could lower the risk of someone contracting a severe case of COVID-19 by decreasing the viral load that travels to the lungs.
'Povidone-iodine nasal irrigation may be beneficial for the population at large as an adjunct to mask usage as a means of virus mitigation,' the authors wrote.
However, don't try this at home. The teams says this nasal wash is best done under clinical supervision.