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Product found in insect repellent could kill coronavirus, military study shows

Written by on 26th August 2020

A product found in insect repellent can kill the strain of coronavirus that causes COVID-19, research by Britain’s defence laboratory has shown. 

Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) are sharing their preliminary findings so others are able to conduct further research, Sky News understands.
Britain’s armed forces were issued with an insect repellent that contains a product called Citriodiol because it was believed it might offer a new layer of protection against COVID-19, Sky News revealed in April.
Citriodiol is already known to kill other types of coronavirus.
Defence scientists subsequently conducted research to see whether it would provide a protective layer against COVID-19, with those results being released on Wednesday.
The company that produces Citriodiol also believed it could offer protection against the novel coronavirus.
Jacqueline Watson, managing director of Citrefine International Ltd, said in April she would like the government to support a formal testing programme.
“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,” she said at the time.
The mosquito spray is not a sufficient protection on its own and is used by the military as an added layer along with face masks, hand washing and other techniques to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Citriodiol is made from oil from the leaves and twigs of the eucalyptus citriodora tree.
It is found in the insect repellent Mosi Guard and others.
It is understood that only insect repellent containing Citriodiol and not containing Deet is regarded as having the potential of any kind of utility against the novel coronavirus.
The armed forces already had stocks of the repellent and figured it was worth trying even without the results of this research because it has no adverse effect.