SARS-CoV-2 stable for hours on surfaces and in aerosols

SARS-CoV-2 stable for hours on surfaces and in aerosols

Like many infectious diseases, COVID-19 can be spread via contact with contaminated surfaces. A new study not only gives further information on how long SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease) can remain stable on various different types of surface, it also indicates the disease can be spread by an entirely different route of transmission.

Stability tests found that the virus was detectable for up to four hours on copper, 24 hours on cardboard and 3 days on plastic or stainless steel. Even more concerning was the finding that the virus could remain in the air for up to 3 hours after being aerosolised, suggesting the possibility of airborne transmission in certain environmental conditions.

The findings of the study, conducted by researchers at National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University and recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, point towards the new virus behaving similarly to its predecessor SARS-CoV-1 in this respect. This does not explain the difference between the spread of the two diseases, but does reinforce the validity of safety measures recommended by many experts and public health officials.

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Source: Medical Xpress


Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH, Holbrook MG, Gamble A, Williamson BN, et al. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med. 2020 Mar 17. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973

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