A new study undertaken in Australia reinforces the need for sanitizing in short intervals and regular handwashing to combat the COVID-19 virus, as it can last upto 28 days on some surfaces, a new study found.
SARS-COV-2 — or the virus that causes COVID-19 has been found to remain infectious on smooth surfaces like stainless steel, glass, or banknotes, for as long as 28-days, refuting claims of other studies.
While aerosol transmit is the leading cause of the spread, fomite transfer — spread via potentially infectious materials — is also a highly efficient mode of transfer, the researchers noted.
Earlier studies have found, fomite transfer has a contamination efficiency of 33% for both fomite to hand and fingertip to mouth transfer for bacteria and phages.
But data on the potential of fomite and therefore fomite to mouth, nose and eye transfer is lacking and conflicting. This new study aims to fill these gaps in COVID-19 research.
What was found about COVID-19 virus?
Under controlled environments, the COVID-19 virus was able to survive longer than what flu virus can do, researchers in Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO found.
The study has been published in the Virgolgy Journal.
At 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) the SARS-COV-2 was able to survive for 28-days, which is in contrast to the Influenza A virus that can survive upto 17 days, Reuters reported.
“It really reinforces the importance of washing hands and sanitizing where possible and certainly wiping down surfaces that may be in contact with the virus,” the study’s lead researcher Shane Riddell was quoted as saying.
Researchers studied the longevity of the drying virus on artificial mucus representing that of an infected COVID-19 patient. The study was conducted in darkness to cut-out the impact of UV rays, as the virus dies under direct sunlight.
Turned out, the microbe can last longer on cooler and smoother surfaces like a plastic banknote, a smartphone display, and stainless steel, longer than rough and complex surfaces like cotton, fibers, and paper banknotes.
“These findings demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer time periods than generally considered possible. These results could be used to inform improved risk mitigation procedures to prevent the fomite spread of COVID-19,” five researchers involved in the study write in the journal.
Riddell said the upcoming summer will be important because the virus will not be able to last as long as it can now, he said referring to the upcoming Southern Hemisphere summer.
It must be noted, in real world the results will be comparatively shorter than the highly controlled laboratory setting.
The CSIRO researchers also noted that the body fats and proteins present in the fluid can abate the virus’s survival times, which may explain the apparently persistent spread of the virus in meatpacking facilites around the world.
Australia, a nation of 25 million has fared relatively well when compared to other wealthy nation’s responses to the coronavirus. The state has recorded some 27k infections and deaths over 800 deaths.