The new coronavirus can remain infectious on banknotes, glass and other common surfaces for weeks. This is based on research by the top Australian biosafety laboratory, which highlighted risks from paper money, touchscreen devices, and grab bars and rails.
Scientists from the Australian Center for Disease Preparation showed that SARS-CoV-2 is “extremely robust” and can survive for 28 days on smooth surfaces like glass on cell phone screens and plastic banknotes at room temperature or 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). This corresponds to a survival of 17 days for the flu virus.
Virus survival on some surfaces dropped to less than a day at 40 degrees Celsius, according to the study published in the Virology Journal on Monday. The results show that the coronavirus, which causes Covid-19, survives longer in cooler weather, which may make it more difficult to control in winter than in summer. The research is also helping to more accurately predict and mitigate the spread of the pandemic, the scientists said.
“Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on surfaces for long periods of time, compounding the need for best practices like regular hand washing and surface cleaning,” said Debbie Eagles, the centre’s deputy director, in an email sent statement.
The coronavirus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, particularly the virus-laden particles they give off when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing, and even breathe. SARS-CoV-2 can also contaminate surfaces if these particles settle, leading to what are known as fomites, which researchers said “can also make an important contribution to the transmission of the virus”.
While not proven, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 via fomites is plausible, Kansas State University researchers said in a study published ahead of publication and peer review in August. They analyzed the stability of the coronavirus on a dozen surfaces and found that in cooler, less humid spring / autumn conditions, it survived five to seven times as long as the average temperature and humidity in summer. The finding is a bad sign for the control of Covid-19 during winter in the northern hemisphere, said the virologist Jürgen Richt, who led the research.
“If we couldn’t control it very well in the summer, we’ll be in for a big surprise,” said Richt in an interview.
“If we couldn’t control it very well in the summer, we’ll be in for a big surprise.”
Here’s like that #Coronavirus will be different in winter after @ KState Virologist Jürgen Richt, who tested # Covid19 on different surfaces. More @Business:: https://t.co/yJCWECcIKNpic.twitter.com/mWNCxI7ToO
– Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 18, 2020
The Australian government laboratory scientist found that coronavirus tends to survive longer on non-porous or smooth surfaces compared to porous complex surfaces such as cotton.
The research was funded by the Australian Department of Defense. The coronavirus was dried in an artificial slime on various surfaces in concentrations similar to those in samples from infected patients and then isolated again for over a month. The study was also done in the dark to eliminate the effects of ultraviolet light, as research has shown that direct sunlight can quickly inactivate the virus.
The time it takes to achieve a 90% reduction in the amount of virus on the surfaces examined at different temperatures is given below:
20 degrees Celsius 30 degrees Celsius 40 degrees Celsius
Stainless steel 5.96 days 1.74 days 4.86 hours
Polymernote 6.85 days 2.04 days 4.78 hours
Paper note 9.13 days 4.32 days 5.39 hours
Glass 6.32 days 1.45 days 6.55 hours
Cotton 5.57 days 1.65 days none recovered
Vinyl 6.34 days 1.4 days 9.9 hours
‘While the precise role of surface transmission, the level of surface contact and the amount of virus required to infect remain to be determined, determining how long this virus will remain viable on surfaces is critical to developing risk reduction strategies in high contact areas . ” Eagles said.
Resistance to glass is an important finding as touchscreen devices such as cell phones, ATMs, supermarket self-service checkouts, and airport check-in machines are high-touch surfaces that may not be cleaned regularly and therefore pose a risk of SARS transmission – CoV-2, said the researchers in the work.
They found the longer survival time of SARS-CoV-2 than the seasonal flu on banknotes “of particular concern given the frequency of spread and the potential for the transmission of viable viruses both between individuals and geographic locations”.
Before SARS-CoV-2 was declared a pandemic, China had started decontaminating its paper currency, suggesting that there were concerns about transmission via paper banknotes at the time. The US and South Korea also quarantined banknotes as a result of the pandemic.
Coronavirus survival on stainless steel in cooler temperatures could help explain Covid-19 outbreaks associated with meat processing and refrigeration rooms, the authors said. Their data support the results of a study showing SARS-CoV-2 survival in fresh and frozen foods as well.
“Research can also help explain the apparent persistence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cool environments with high levels of lipid or protein contamination, such as meat processing plants, and how we can better address this risk,” said Trevor Drew, director of the Australian Center for Disease Prevention, said in the statement.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)