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Study: Coronavirus Lives On Some Surfaces For Up To Three Days

Guy Parsons Guy Parsons

Coronavirus public transport surfaces

The novel coronavirus can survive for several days on plastic and steel, according to a new study.

Scientists at the Laboratory of Virology in Hamilton, Montana, and elsewhere, studied how the new virus survives outside the human body. Research revealed that the live virus could be detected:

up to three hours later, in the air
up to four hours later, on copper
up to 24 hours later, on cardboard
up to 72 hours later, on plastic and stainless steel

That’s pretty similar to how previous coronaviruses, such as SARS, remain viable outside the body, so the scientists have ruled out that the increased spread of this pandemic is caused by improved survivability of the virus. (Read the full paper here.)

It’s currently thought that the virus is mostly spread in droplet form, which are heavier and ‘land’ only on surfaces close to an infectious person, reducing how far it can be spread. But this study suggests that, if it becomes ‘aerosolized’,  it can float in the air in infectious form for some hours.

[Update, March 11: there are now over 100 cases of coronavirus in London]

For their next work, they’ll be investigating how temperature and relative humidity affect the viability of the virus, which may give clues as to how the transmission of coronavirus will change with the seasons. They’ll also be investigating the viability of the virus in ‘nasal secretion, sputum and fecal matter’ which sounds to be an absolute hoot.

Meanwhile, in London, TfL is now using an enhanced cleaning regime using the same antiviral products used in hospitals:

[Header image: Gerald Streiter]


Also published on Medium.