Chlorine dioxide has been condemned as a dangerous poison and has been touted as a cure for COVID-19. This narrative review examines the controversy surrounding the use of aqueous chlorine dioxide by investigating evidence-based research articles, government documents, press reports, and the results of the first clinical trial utilizing chlorine dioxide as a treatment for COVID-19. Chlorine dioxide was found to be employed by numerous industries for antimicrobial and other uses. Aqueous chlorine dioxide was found to be safe when ingested in low doses, but when ingested in high doses, it can cause adverse hematologic and renal effects. Additionally, chlorine dioxide was found to be a strong and rapidly acting virucide with activity against a wide range of viruses. Results of the first clinical trial utilizing chlorine dioxide to treat COVID-19 are reviewed and this molecule is found to be a safe and effective treatment. A dispassionate review of the evidence-based research literature finds preliminary evidence supporting the opinion that aqueous chlorine dioxide may be a safe and effective treatment of COVID-19, and likely for other viral illnesses as well. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to explore potential uses of chlorine dioxide.
Key words: SARS-CoV-2, virucide, biocide, antimicrobial, oxidant, disinfectant, bleach, food additive, sterilant.
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