MELBOURNE / SYDNEY - Reuters
Coronavirus can last 28 days on glass and currency, study finds

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 said on Monday, highlighting the need for
frequent cleaning and handwashing.
Findings from the study by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO,
appear to show that in a very controlled environment the virus remained
infectious for longer than other studies have found.
CSIRO researchers found that at 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), the
SARS-CoV-2 virus remained infectious for 28 days on smooth surfaces such
as plastic banknotes and the glass found on mobile phone screens. The
study was published in Virology Journal.
By comparison, the 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.
The
World Health Organization (WHO) said that the study built on previous
experimental studies used to draw up its existing guidance on
handwashing and disinfection of surfaces.
“The
persistent detection of SARS-CoV-2 ... in the experimental conditions
from this study is not unexpected and informs our understanding of virus
survivability,” April Baller, a WHO infection prevention and control
expert, said in an emailed response to Reuters, adding that this would
not change WHO recommendations at this time.
INFECTIOUS TRACES MEASURED
Paul
Digard, a virology specialist at Britain’s Edinburgh University Roslin
Institute, said it was significant that the researchers had measured
infectious virus, not just detectable bits of virus, but added that it
was also key to remember that the infectivity decays over time.
“So
the amount of virus surviving at 28 days is very low and is therefore
likely to be much less likely to infect someone than the higher amounts
present when the virus is freshly deposited,” he said in an emailed
comment.
The
study involved drying virus in an artificial mucus on a range of
surfaces at concentrations similar to samples from COVID-19 patients and
then recovering the virus over a month.
Experiments
done at 20, 30 and 40 degrees Celsius showed the virus survived longer
at cooler temperatures, longer on smooth surfaces than on complex
surfaces such as cotton and longer on paper banknotes than on plastic
banknotes.
All
the experiments were done in the dark to remove the impact of
ultraviolet light because research has shown that 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.
Researchers
said, given that proteins and fats in body fluids can also sharply
increase virus survival times, their study may help to explain the
apparent persistence and spread of the virus in cool environments such
as meat-packing plants.

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