How long does the coronavirus last on various surfaces?


The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19[feminine]) is stable for several hours or days in aerosols and on various surfaces, according to the study just published in The New England Journal of Medicine a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of California at Los Angeles and Princeton University in the United States.

The authors mimicked what happens when an infected person deposits the coronavirus on everyday household and hospital materials, such as can occur when coughing or touching objects. For this, they used real samples of the pathogen.

Thus, they came to the conclusion that SARS-CoV-2responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome, is detected in aerosols (airborne particles) for up to three hours, up to four hours in the copper (present in many currencies), up to 24 hours in the cardboard and up to two or three days in Plastic and the stainless steel.

These results provide key insights into the stability of the pandemic-causing virus and confirm that people can acquire it through the air and after touching contaminated objects.

Stability similar to SARS-CoV-1

NIH scientists at the facilities of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana, compared how the environment affects SARS-CoV-2 versus its predecessor SARS-CoV-1, which causes SARS, using samples from both types.

The SARS-CoV-1like its current relative, also appeared in China, infecting more than 8,000 people between 2002 and 2003. However, it was eradicated in 2004 through intensive contact tracing and measures to isolate infected people.

In the new stability study, the two coronaviruses behaved similarly, which unfortunately does not explain why COVID-19 turned into a much larger epidemic.

Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus

The authors also highlight other aspects of their findings. For example, they wonder why there are more cases of SARS-CoV-2.

Evidence suggests that those currently infected could spread the virus without recognizing, or even before recognizing, symptoms. This would make disease control measures that were effective against SARS-CoV-1 less so against its successor.

Additionally, unlike SARS-CoV-1, the majority of secondary cases of SARS-CoV-2 transmission appear to occur in community settings instead of toilets. However, the hospital settings they are also vulnerable to the introduction and spread of the novel coronavirus, whose stability in aerosols and on surfaces likely contributes to its transmission here as well.

On the other hand, the study reaffirms the recommendations given by healthcare professionals against influenza and other respiratory viruses. Although the population is increasingly aware, measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 are insisted on: avoid close contact with infected people; do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth; staying home when you’re sick (and now also when you’re not); cough or sneeze into the elbow and use disposable tissues thrown in the trash; and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Character font: NIH, SINC Agency,

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