Posted on March 23, 2020 at 12:00 PM
New research finds that the 2019 coronavirus-causing virus (COVID-19) is stable in aerosols and on surfaces for several hours to days. Scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, copper for up to four hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for up to two or three days.
The scientists observed that extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was observable in aerosols for up to three hours, copper for up to four hours, cardboard for up to 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for up to two to three days. The findings provide important details on the stability of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19 disease, and indicate that individuals can acquire the virus through the air and after touching infected objects. During the past two weeks, the study information has been widely shared after the researchers put the material on a preprint server to exchange their data with colleagues quickly.
The NIH research tried to replicate the virus transmitted by an infected person on ordinary surfaces in a home or hospital environment, e.g. by coughing or touching objects. The scientists then investigated how long the virus on those surfaces remained infectious.
If the two coronaviruses are identical in viability, why will SARS-CoV-2 lead to more cases? Emerging evidence indicates that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 can transmit the virus without noticing symptoms, or before noticing them. This would make anti-sARS-CoV-1 disease control measures less effective against its successor.
Unlike SARS-CoV-1, the bulk of secondary cases of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission tend to occur in cultural environments rather than health-care facilities. Healthcare environments, however, are still susceptible to the introduction and dissemination of SARS-CoV-2, and SARS-CoV-2 persistence in aerosols and surfaces is likely to lead to the propagation of the virus in healthcare environments.
The results note public health practitioners ' recommendations to use measures similar to those for influenza and other respiratory viruses to prevent SARS-CoV-2 spread:
Avoid intimate contact with sick people.
Do not cross your head, your nose and your lips.
Keep home, if you're tired.
Cover with a towel over your cough or sneeze, and chuck the towel in the bin.
The often handled items and surfaces are washed and disinfected using a normal household spray or scrub.
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