Here’s how long coronaviruses can survive on surfaces

Washington: With the deadly coronavirus having already claimed more than 2,300 lives in China alone, and the deadly virus having spread to other countries, concerns are growing about how long the virus may linger on surfaces.

According to CNN, the concerns have grown to such an extent that China’s central bank has decided to clean and destroy a large chunk of its currency notes as they change hands multiple times in a day.

According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Coronaviruses are the group of viruses that are commonly found among animals and are in some rare cases called as the zoonotic. They can be transmitted from animals to human beings.

According to the CDC, the coronaviruses spread the most through respiratory droplets like sneeze or cough and they have poor sustainability on surfaces.

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” said CDC’s website.

According to the CDC, flu viruses, on the other hand, can live on certain specific surfaces for about 48 hours and can potentially infect people if the surface remains disinfected.

The human coronaviruses like the SARS and the MERS are known to be persistent on inanimate surfaces for as long as a period of nine days, according to research published in the – Journal of Hospital Infection.

According to research cited by CNN, it is further known that cleaning surfaces with common disinfecting products can bring a difference. The research has also found that the class of human coronaviruses can be inactivated within a minute by disinfection of surfaces with about 62-71 per cent of ethanol, 0.5 per cent of hydrogen peroxide or 0.1 per cent of sodium hypochlorite or bleach.

The research was conducted by analysing 22 previously published studies on the coronavirus.

“Based on the currently available data, I would primarily rely on the data from SARS coronavirus, which is the closest relative to the novel coronavirus — with 80% sequence similarity — among the coronaviruses tested. For SARS coronavirus, the range of persistence on surfaces was less than five minutes to nine days,” CNN quoted an infectious disease professor at the University of California Dr Charles Chiu as saying.

“However, it is very difficult to extrapolate these findings to the novel coronavirus due to the different strains, viral titers and environmental conditions that were tested in the various studies and the lack of data on the novel coronavirus itself,” he added.

“More research using cultures of the novel coronavirus are needed to establish the duration that it can survive on surfaces,” he further said.

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