The coronavirus can live on the skin for 9 hours, according to a study. But experts say don’t panic – National


A recent study suggests that the new coronavirus can live on human skin for up to nine hours, but experts say the results are not as alarming as they seem.The study by Japanese researchers, published earlier this month in the scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, looked at how long viruses can survive on human skin based on samples taken from cadavers about a day. after death.

READ MORE: Coronavirus can survive for up to 28 days on some surfaces – but heat makes a difference, study finds

The results suggest that the virus responsible for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, can remain active for 9.04 hours, almost five times longer than the survival time of the influenza pathogen.

The study also showed that an 80% ethanol-based disinfectant can kill the new coronavirus in 15 seconds.

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Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist in Winnipeg, says this is her main finding from the study.

“This is an important public health message to remind people that while the virus can last essentially a full working day in a lab, you can get rid of it quickly if you wash your hands,” she said. declared.

“It’s not about panicking and taking a full shower every time you come home. This is to remember that if the virus is on your hand and you wipe your nose or put your fingers in your mouth, this is where the opportunity is to get infected.

Coronavirus: How Dangerous Are High Contact Surfaces In School?

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Colin Furness, an infection control epidemiologist at the University of Toronto, says people are less likely to contract COVID-19 from touching a surface than from close contact with an infected person.

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He suspects that the reason is related to the viral dose on surfaces compared to that of droplets or aerosols. Coming into contact with a low viral load on a surface is unlikely to lead to a serious infection, he says, adding that our bodies can fight off a very mild case without even realizing it.

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“I don’t think (this study) is something we need to be too concerned about,” Furness said. “If that was the case, clinically we would find that touch matters a lot more. And we are not.

Furness says public health strategies in recent months have focused on wearing masks and avoiding gatherings “because they matter more.”

However, even an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic person can transmit the virus, so Furness says it’s still important to wash your hands regularly.

“I don’t want anyone to think touch doesn’t matter at all. You can still catch the virus from the touch, ”Furness said. “And you can catch a different virus during COVID that weakens your body, and if you do, you can have a worse outcome.”

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Masks are more important than disinfectants for COVID-19 prevention, experts say

Experts say it’s also important to remember that studies done in the lab, under perfectly controlled conditions, don’t necessarily translate to the outside world.

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Carr said the study in Japan was carried out under hot and humid conditions, in which the virus is known to thrive.

The use of skin samples from stationary corpses could also play a role in the length of time the virus remained on that surface, she added.

“I understand the virus is relatively fragile,” Carr said. “So I don’t know how long that would be detectable on your hand in a real situation where you are moving.”

Numerous laboratory studies have been carried out since the start of the pandemic, showing how long the new coronavirus can survive on different surfaces. Another recent found that the virus could live on banknotes for up to 28 days.

But Furness says take this with a grain of salt.

Click to play the video 'How long does the coronavirus last on different surfaces'

How long does the coronavirus last on different surfaces

How long does the coronavirus last on different surfaces

“It’s almost like a kinky little competition to see who can keep COVID alive the longest, and I don’t think that’s fair,” he said. “Saying it can survive on a banknote for several days _ OK, when the note is in the dark undisturbed, and with perfect humidity, etc.” This is where it gets a little questionable.

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And detecting the virus on a surface isn’t the same as determining if it’s strong enough to infect someone, Carr warned.

“This is where we lack knowledge,” she says. “It could be (detectable) for nine hours, six hours, 12 hours, but again, the main advantage for me is how quickly it can be eradicated if you just wash your hands.”

For Furness, the interesting part of the Japanese study was its comparison to the regular flu virus, which on average lasted just under two hours on skin surfaces.

He says this may provide a potential clue as to why the new coronavirus is so transmissible.

“It sheds some light on the fact that this is a difficult customer, that this is a relatively resistant virus compared to the flu,” he said. “And that would help explain why it’s so much more contagious than something like the flu.”

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