Usher Institute


Could a simple salt water solution help to reduce the early symptoms and progression of COVID-19?


Summary (Research in a nutshell)

COVID-19 has spread worldwide radily and is now a pandemic. There is no cure for it yet. It has been seen to cause mild to moderate illness in most people but it can cause serious illness and death, particularly in the elderly, those with prolonged illness or a weakened immune system.

The ELVIS-COVID-19 study is to find out if nasal washout and gargling with salt water (hypertonic saline) helps individuals with COVID-19 get better faster.

Preliminary data from those with the common cold has found that nasal washouts and gargling with salty water may be helpful in reducing the length of the illness. We do not however know if this same benefit will also be seen in those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

This study will help us find out if nasal washouts and gargling with salty water are helpful in COVID-19.

Key people

Name Role
Aziz Sheikh Co-Investigator
Sandeep Ramalingam Co-Investigator
John Norrie Co-Investigator
Lesley Sinclair Trial Manager
Tony Wackett Database developer, Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit


Lesley Sinclair


ELVIS COVID-19 study website

Partners and Funders

BREATHE - the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health is financially supporting this study.

This study is supported by the Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit (a fully registered UKCRC Clinical Trials Unit) 

This study is sponsored by the Academic and Clinical Central Office for Research and Development.


June 2020 - December 2021


Scientific themes

COVID-19, nasal irrigation, community intervention

Methodology keywords

digitally-enabled randomised trial