Povidone-iodine nasal spray and gargle decreases COVID risk of death by 9 times


Senior Member
A randomised placebo-controlled study on 606 COVID patients in Bangladesh found 1% povidone-iodine nasal spray, throat gargle and eye drops, when administered by the patient every 4 hours, reduced the COVID death rate by approximately 9 times.

In the 303 COVID patients in the study who administered 1% povidone-iodine every 4 hours as a nasal spray, gargle (mouthwash) and eye drops, and doing this for four weeks, there were only 2 deaths.

But in the 303 COVID patient placebo group applying just water, the study recorded 17 deaths.

So that is an 8.5-fold reduction in death from povidone-iodine. Which is not far behind a vaccine, which reduces death by about 20-fold.

If you are both vaccinated and use povidone-iodine, you may reduce your chances of death by 20 x 8.5 = 170 times!

So for someone who is in their 80s, for example, an age group which when unvaccinated has around a 29% chance of death once they develop symptoms and become a COVID case (ref here), vaccination would reduce their chances of death to about 1.5%, and vaccination combined with povidone-iodine would further reduce the risk of death down to around 0.2% (or 1 in 500).

This is an interesting study, because back in March 2020, @Cipher suggested on theoretical grounds that povidone-iodine gargling might help prevent catching COVID (see this post). Well this Bangladeshi study provides empirical evidence that povidone-iodine reduces death rate in COVID.

Note that povidone-iodine is not the same as iodine, and regular iodine probably will not work, or may not work as well. Povidone-iodine is a special molecule which releases iodine slowly, so has a long-lasting antiseptic effect.

Povidone-iodine should not be swallowed, as it is slightly toxic, and can cause diarrhea if swallowed.

If you want to make your own povidone-iodine nasal spray and gargle, this article contains important info: it says the povidone-iodine for sale in the US is not intended for gargling:
In the United States, povidone-iodine solutions are sold as skin disinfectants, which contain ingredients that can cause serious harm if ingested; preparations that are suitable for gargling are not generally available in this country. It’s critical that people not gargle with skin disinfectant solutions, including those that contain povidone-iodine. In Canada, a povidone-iodine gargle solution is sold under the brand name Betadine.
So you would want to got hold of some povidone-iodine that is intended for gargling.

The povidone-iodine I have is the Videne Antiseptic Solution, which is 10% povidone-iodine, as suitable for mucous membranes use.

The Videne manufacturer's page says:
a broad range of indications - skin, mucous membrane and wound antisepsis
Contraindications: Videne must not be used in hyperthyroidism or other manifest thyroid diseases.

Videne Antiseptic Solution (Pink Label)
Videne Antiseptic Solution.png

The Videne Alcoholic Tincture (green label) product is not going to be suitable for use in the nose, as the alcohol will sting.

If you want to dilute 10% povidone-iodine down to 1%, then you would mix it 10:1 with distilled water. So for example, adding 5 ml of 10% povidone-iodine to 45 ml of distilled water will create 50 ml of a 1% solution.

If you add 450 mg of pure salt to that 50 ml solution, to make it into physiological saline, it will be more comfortable when you spray it in the nose. To spray into the nose, you would normally use a nasal spray bottle.

It may be an idea to put slightly more salt in, say 1000 mg in 50 ml, to make a 2% salt solution. This is because a study found salt gargling just on its own has substantial antiviral effects against coronavirus in the mucus membranes. Salt is converted by the immune system into the the bleach hypochlorous acid (HOCI), which fights viruses.

On the UK eBay, there are a few people selling povidone-iodine gargle (mouthwash).

Likewise the US eBay.
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