Although the common cold, usually caused by human rhinoviruses, is responsible for enormous damage to the economy and health every year, there are hardly any treatment options or prophylaxis for rhinovirus infections. In this work, the potential of a hydrogel complex, based on polymers and an aqueous extract of Icelandic moss in isla®
medic lozenges (Engelhard Arzneimittel, Niederdorfelden, Germany), and two other hydrogels (based on solely xanthan gum or sodium hyaluronate) are investigated for the first time in order to prevent and treat rhinovirus infections. By means of rheological investigations, we demonstrate that isla®
medic and containing polymers cause artificial saliva to thicken. Additionally, we demonstrate that the thickening results in the formation of a physical diffusion barrier, which leads to a significant reduction in plaques in a preventive plaque assay with rhinovirus 14 (RV-14). Furthermore, it is shown in a curative plaque assay that the hydrogel complex also has a curative effect on rhinovirus infections in that it reduces the spread of the RV-14-infection on H1-HeLa cell monolayers. Overall, polymer-based hydrogels and related products, such as isla®
medic, could contribute to the prevention and treatment of rhinovirus infections.
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