COVID-19-causing virus can survive 28 days at 20°C, study finds

Sydney, Australia, Oct 12 (efe-epa).- The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive at least 28 days on some common surfaces, according to a study by Australia’s science agency published Monday.

SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the pandemic that has infected more than 37 million people, including 1.1 million deaths, can survive about 10 days longer than Influenza A, said the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

“At 20 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes,” said Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, where the research was carried out.

“Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on surfaces for long periods of time, reinforcing the need for good practices such as regular handwashing and cleaning surfaces,” Eagles said.

At 30°C the virus’ chances of survival is 21 days on paper notes, seven on plastic notes or stainless steel, and three days for vinyl and cotton cloth.

At 40°C, SARS-CoV-2 can remain for 48 hours on vinyl, one day on glass, stainless steel, and paper and plastic banknotes, and less than 16 hours on cotton cloth, according to the research published in the scientific Virology Journal.

The research, which suggests that high temperatures reduce the possibility of COVID-19 infections, “involved drying virus in an artificial mucus on different surfaces, at concentrations similar to those reported in samples from infected patients and then re-isolating the virus over a month.”

The study was conducted in the dark to remove the effect of ultraviolet rays, as sunlight can inactivate the virus.

“While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of surface contact and the amount of virus required for infection is yet to be determined, establishing how long this virus remains viable on surfaces is critical for developing risk mitigation strategies in high contact areas,” Eagles said.

The timeframe that a virus survives outside its hostr depends on the type of virus, the quantity, the surface, the environmental conditions and how it’s deposited, for example through touch or by cough, ACDP director Trevor Drew said.

“Proteins and fats in body fluids can also significantly increase virus survival times,” Drew said.

CSIRO scientists hope that their discovery will contribute to developing risk mitigation strategies in virus hotspots, as well as in understanding the apparent persistent contagion in cold environments with high protein or lipid contamination, such as meat processing facilities. EFE-EPA


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