An End to the Common Cold?

For about a bazillion years, snake oil salesmen have been peddling cures for the common cold.

And none of them have ever worked.

Until now???

Yesterday, two scientists presented their research about a new oral antiseptic spray which claims to be effective in killing 99.9 percent of infectious airborne germs.

What is it and How does it work???

Halo Oral Antiseptic is designed to keep you healthy and flu-free via a two-step process:

  1. After spraying Halo into the back of your mouth, the glycerine and xanthan gum in the product creates a microbial barrier preventing germs from entering further into your body.
  2. After the germs are trapped, a broad-spectrum anti-infective agent – cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) – kills off the germs leaving you safe from infection for up to 6 hours.

How cool is that?

The Science

In the first sudy, Dr. Frank Esper used Halo to kill off a number of clinical strains of 2009 pandemic H1N1.  This is the same flu virus that infected over 600,000 people killing over 15,000 back in 2009.

And Halo kicked it’s butt.

Dr. Esper concluded that “Halo will have clear benefit to aid against infection and reduce disease from epidemic, sporadic or pandemic respiratory viral infections, particularly helping people at risk for severe respiratory illness including immune-compromised individuals with chronic lung disease, and military personnel.

The second study showed Halo’s effectiveness against airborne germs. Specifically,  the researchers “found that Halo completely kills all 11 clinical strains of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) against which the spray was tested”.

“Exposure to airborne germs is inevitable – especially in crowded environments and when traveling,” said Dr. Ghannoum. “Unlike other products that support the immune system or protect from germs on surfaces or hands, Halo is the first and only product of its kind to offer protection from airborne germs.”

[box type=”note”]The researchers found that Halo destroyed airborne germs breathed in for up to six hours, even when people were eating and drinking. [/box]

Conclusion

One major red flag about this research is that it was paid for by the company who makes the product.

Which isn’t really surprising. Who else is going to pay for it?

Nevertheless, I will feel more comfortable with this product once some other lab geeks have reproduced these amazing results.

Reference

9 comments

  1. Hi, I am actually with Oasis Consumer Healthcare LLC, the maker of Halo. Just wanted to point out that the data that suggests CPC may stain teeth, found the staining ability of CPC to be no stronger than that of water, and even when it was found to potentially stain teeth, it was at a dosage level 1400 time higher than the amount found in Halo. In addition, while Oasis did provide some funding for the research, the testing was done at Case Western Medical Center, one of the leading medical research centers in the world, not in company labs or clinical sites, and the findings were accepted for publication by ICAAC, which is considered the world’s leading conference on infectious diseases. As you rightly point out, without our funding, the research would have been accomplished. As a last point, both Dr. Esper (Pediatric Virologist), and Dr. Ghannoum (microbiologist who has been funded by over 20 years by the National Institutes of Health) are experts in infectious diseases.

  2. It’s an exciting looking product.

    Re the CPC and brown staining, I was one of the unfortunate people who experienced brown staining n my teeth from using Crest PRO-HEALTH Multi-Protection Rinse with CPC. It wasn’t good and required a trip to the dentist to remove the stains…which was a pain in the but considering I had just been to the dentist earlier in the week for a cleaning. And after speaking to my hygienist, I was assured that mine was not an isolated case.

    I have no idea how the CPC dosage of Halo compares to the Crest rinse, but it does make me wary.

  3. There are way too many positive reviews on this stuff (all parrotting the company’s marketing talking points) and no independent review. Here are my concerns:

    1) The box clearly says not to use for more than 7 days unless directed by a physician or dentist. This means that when used as labeled, Halo is only good for a very small part of the flu season (1 week).

    Does this warning also mean that the stuff can have long term toxic effect?

    2) Will it kill friendly flora making you more susceptible to infection in the long run?

    3) The main constituent is chloride based and is not a chloride salt. Which basically means that the active ingredient is in essence bleach. Can it be good to shoot this stuff in the back of your throat and swallow bleach on a prolonged basis?

  4. CPC is also the main ingredient in Crest’s Multi-Protection rinse that turned my teeth brown. And unlike a mouth rinse that you swirl and spit, this spray is intend to stay glued to the back of your throat for hours at a time.

    Your concerns could very well be valid…hopefully we hear back from Afif at Oasis Consumer Healthcare LLC, the maker of Halo – see above comment

  5. Hi,
    Afif here again, and I wanted to respond to each of the questions/comments that were posted after my initial response .

    Comment 1: There are way too many positive reviews on this stuff (all parrotting the company’s marketing talking points) and no independent review.

    The positive reviews are from actual consumer experiences, and bloggers that were uncompensated and asked to review the product, period. It’s completely untrue to say there’s been no independent review, because our results were accepted for presentation by ICAAC, the leading conference on infectious diseases in the world, and the Infectious Disease Society of America’s ID Week Conference, another leading infectious disease conference. Further, our testing was done at Case Western Medical Center, which had to give Institutional Review Board approval before allowing any clinical testing to proceed. In addition, our testing was partially funding by an NIH grant. So in short, it’s simply not accurate to say that there’s been no independent review and something must be off because the reviews are positive.

    Comment 2: The box clearly says not to use for more than 7 days unless directed by a physician or dentist. This means that when used as labeled, Halo is only good for a very small part of the flu season (1 week).

    This is a misreading of the label, this simply means that you should not used it more than 7 CONSECUTIVE days before stopping use for at least a day. This Warning is mandated under FDA labeling guidelines for oral antiseptics, and is meant to stop someone from using an oral antiseptic to self medicate something that is seriously wrong, when instead they should see a doctor if after 7 days the medical issue they are using the product for has continued without abatement.

    Question 1. Does this warning also mean that the stuff can have long term toxic effect?

    No, please see above. It has nothing to do with long term toxicity, and a simple reading of the labeling of many over the counter products will show you that Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is an extremely prevalent ingredient. As an example, if there were truly toxicity issues, would CPC really be found in products that are often used daily, like mouthwash, lozenges, toothpaste, and a myriad of other very common products.

    Question 2. Will it kill friendly flora making you more susceptible to infection in the long run?

    CPC has been used in medicines for over 50 years, and in many cases those medications are used daily, such as mouthwashes. There is no evidence that shows that the natural flora of the oral cavity is compromised by CPC, allowing you to be more susceptible to infection in the long run.

    Comment 2 The main constituent is chloride based and is not a chloride salt. Which basically means that the active ingredient is in essence bleach. Can it be good to shoot this stuff in the back of your throat and swallow bleach on a prolonged basis?

    This is a completely inaccurate statement. CPC is not a bleach. It’s a Quaternary ammonium cation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quaternary_ammonium), and is an extremely common antimicrobial agent. In fact, the NIH lists over 125 medications that contain CPC http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/search.cfm?startswith=CETYLPYRIDINIUM+CHLORIDE&x=20&y=6. To suggest that just because chloride is in the name, that it’s somehow toxic to use, is completely baseless.

    Comment 3 – CPC is also the main ingredient in Crest’s Multi-Protection rinse that turned my teeth brown. And unlike a mouth rinse that you swirl and spit, this spray is intend to stay glued to the back of your throat for hours at a time.

    As I previously mentioned, you would need a dose 1400 times higher than is found in Halo to even come into the range of staining.

    Your concerns could very well be valid…hopefully we hear back from Afif at Oasis Consumer Healthcare LLC, the maker of Halo – see above comment

  6. I am curious why Halo spray is so expensive. Asking $10+ for a small container of ingredients worth a few pennies seems like a ripoff to me.

  7. Sounds like an interesting product with a lot of potential. Halo means ‘salt’ in greek – is it the salt in this product that does the magic? I also read about dry salt inhalation (halo-therapy) – how does halo work in comparisment to halotherapy?

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