Scientists Find Chemical Used In Insect Repellents Can Kill Coronavirus

British scientists discovered that citriodiol, the active ingredient found in some insect repellents, can kill the novel coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. The Sun reported that the chemical, which is derived from the leaves and twigs of the eucalyptus citriodora, totally killed off the virus in some tests, which could help stop its spread.

British troops were sprayed with citriodiol via a product called Mosi-guard Natural because it has been known to kill other coronaviruses, the group of viruses that cause illnesses such as the common cold. In some of the experiments, the chemical killed the novel coronavirus that is responsible for the current global pandemic. Experts suggested that it was worth giving the treatment a try on troops since it was unlikely to do any harm to those receiving it.

However, the researchers cautioned that more data is needed before they can make any application recommendations.

"We have no data relating the concentration applied experimentally to the latex to that resulting from a spray and rub application of Mosi-guard on human skin."

While the research is still in the early stages, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in the U.K. said that it wanted to release the initial findings so that others could continue the work to determine if citriodiol could be another tool in the fight against the deadly disease.

"We are sharing our preliminary findings today so others can take forward additional research to confirm and expand on our findings."
Experts cautioned that using the chemical alone isn't enough. Good handwashing and the use of face masks were also recommended, in addition to using a spray containing the ingredient.

Disinfection professionals wearing protective gear spray anti-septic solution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a traditional market on February 26, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea.
Getty Images | Chung Sung-Jun

Defense Minister Jeremy Quin lauded the department for its role in helping to combat COVID-19.

"Defense has played a wide variety of roles in supporting efforts to tackle coronavirus," he said. "We are pleased that this is another example of Defence sourcing innovative ways to keep people safe."

Currently, scientists are scrambling to find new ways to fight the disease, which has become the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. The FDA recently approved the use of convalescent plasma in the U.S., and the drug remdesivir has shown some promise as well.

However, scientists speculate that it could be several years until the pandemic is brought under full control, pending the creation of a vaccine that can be widely distributed, as The Inquisitr previously reported.