Covid-19 can survive ‘28 days’: Study
Published: 11:16 AM, 12 October 2020 Updated: 12:10 PM, 12 October 2020
Australia’s National Science Agency suggests that SARS-Cov-2 can survive for far longer than to be believed, however, exceptions are available. The experiment was conducted in the dark where UV light has already been shown to kill the virus. Some experts have also thrown doubt on the actual threat posed by surface transmission in real life.
Previous laboratory tests have found that SARS-Cov-2 can survive for two to three days on banknotes and glass, and up to six days on plastic and stainless steel, although results vary.
However, the research from Australian agency CSIRO found the virus was “extremely robust” surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and both plastic and paper banknotes when kept at 20°C (68F), which is about room temperature, and in the dark.
In comparison, the virus can survive in the same circumstances for 17 days.
The study, published in Virology Journal, also found SARS-Cov-2 survived for less time at hotter temperatures than cooler temperatures; it stopped being infectious within 24 hours at 40C on some surfaces.
Meanwhile, Prof Ron Eccles, former director of Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, criticized the study and said the suggestion that the virus could survive for 28 days was causing “unnecessary fear in the public”.
“Viruses are spread on surfaces from mucus in coughs and sneezes and dirty fingers and this study did not use fresh human mucus as a vehicle to spread the virus,” he said.
"Fresh mucus is a hostile environment for viruses as it contains lots of white cells that produce enzymes to destroy viruses and can also contain antibodies and other chemicals to neutralize viruses.
“In my opinion infectious viruses will only persist for hours in mucus on surfaces rather than days.”
In a paper published by the Lancet in July, Emanuel Goldman, professor of microbiology at Rutgers University, said, “The chance of transmission through inanimate surfaces is very small.”
He said studies that suggested a significant risk had been designed with “little resemblance to real-life scenarios.”