Coronavirus can survive for up to 28 days on phone screens and money, study finds

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The virus responsible for COVID-19 can survive for up to 28 days on surfaces such as banknotes, phone screens and stainless steel, according to a study by Australian researchers.

The study by Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), showed that, under controlled conditions, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus tended to survive longer at temperatures lower on non-porous or smooth surfaces such as glass, stainless steel. steel and vinyl, compared to complex porous surfaces such as cotton.“At 20 degrees Celsius, which is roughly room temperature, we found the virus to be extremely hardy, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on cell phone screens and banknotes. plastic bank, ”said Dr Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Center for Disease Preparedness, which led the research.

In comparison, influenza A survived on surfaces for 17 days.

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

She said the study results reinforce the need for good practices such as regular hand washing and surface cleaning.

The peer-reviewed study, published Oct. 7 in Virology Journal, involved drying the virus in 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.

Further experiments were conducted at 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, with survival times decreasing as the temperature increased.

Experiments conducted at 20 ° C, 30 ° C and 40 ° C showed that the virus survived longer in cooler temperatures and on smooth surfaces than on complex surfaces such as cotton. The infectious virus survived less than 24 hours at 40 ° C on some surfaces, according to the study.

All experiments were conducted in the dark, to eliminate the effects of ultraviolet light, as research has shown that direct sunlight can quickly inactivate the virus.

The CSIRO researchers said that because proteins and fats in body fluids can also dramatically increase the survival times of the virus, their research may help explain the apparent persistence and spread of the virus in cold to high environments. lipid or protein contamination, such as meat processing facilities.

An earlier study published in April in The Lancet found that no infectious virus could be detected on glass or banknotes after four days, or after seven days for stainless steel.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the virus that causes COVID-19 is spread less frequently through contact with contaminated surfaces.

“Respiratory droplets can also land on surfaces and objects. It is possible that a person can contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object containing the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Spread from contacting surfaces is not considered a common way of spreading COVID-19, ”he says on his website.

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