Coronavirus lives for hours in air particles and days on surfaces: New US study
COVID-19, News

Coronavirus lives for hours in air particles and days on surfaces: New US study

March 21, 2020

Virus was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper and up to 24 hours on cardboard

It can stay up to three days on plastic and stainless steel

Washington: Coronavirus can remain infectious in droplets in the air for hours and on some surfaces up to three days, according to a new study. The virus spreads between people who are in close contact with one another through respiratory droplets, much like the common cold or flu, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC has said there is likely very low risk of transmission of COVID-19 from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks “because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces.”

But a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that viable virus could be detected up to three hours later in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

“We’re not by any way saying there is aerosolised transmission of the virus,” but this work shows that the virus stays viable for long periods in those conditions, so it’s theoretically possible,” study leader Neeltje van Doremalen at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

Scientists from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Princeton and UCLA used a device to dispense an aerosol that mimicked the microscopic droplets created when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

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The virus was deposited onto surfaces including plastic, stainless steel, cardboard and copper to represent a variety of household and hospital settings. Over time the amount of viable                                                virus on these surfaces decreased sharply.

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