According to a recent study, The virus that causes Covid-19 can survive on banknotes, glass and stainless steel for up to 28 days, much longer than the flu virus.
Australian researchers informed on Monday, highlighting the need for effective cleaning and handwashing to help combat the disease.
CSIRO researchers said that at 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) the SARS-COV-2 virus was “extremely robust” and remained infectious for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as plastic banknotes and glass found on mobile phone screens. The study was published in Virology Journal.
“The data presented in this study demonstrates that infectious SARS-CoV-2 can be recovered from nonporous surfaces for at least 28 days at ambient temperature and humidity (20 °C and 50% RH). Increasing the temperature while maintaining humidity drastically reduced the survivability of the virus to as little as 24 h at 40 °C”, the study results said.
By comparison, Influenza A virus has been found to survive on surfaces for 17 days.
“It really reinforces the importance of washing hands and sanitising where possible and certainly wiping down surfaces that may be in contact with the virus,” said the study’s lead researcher Shane Riddell.
Recently, studies have shown that the coronavirus can remain infectious in airborne particles for more than three hours.
“Establishing how long the virus really remains viable on surfaces enables us to more accurately predict and mitigate its spread, and do a better job of protecting our people,” Dr Larry Marshall, CSIRO Chief Executive, said. “Together, we hope this suite of solutions from science will break down the barriers between us, and shift focus to dealing with specific virus hotspots so we can get the economy back on track”.
All the experiments were done in the dark to remove the impact of ultraviolet light, as research has shown direct sunlight can kill the virus.
“So in the real world results would likely be shorter than what we were able to show,” Riddell told Reuters news agency.
Julie Leask, a professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, said the findings were useful but needed to be put in perspective.
“The study usefully confirms that surfaces may be a way to pass on coronavirus, but we should look to the epidemiology for how it actually moves between people in everyday life,” Leask wrote on Twitter. “That data shows it’s still close contact with an infected person that is risky and not from touching their mobile phone 5 days later.”