Recently, a new study, which appears in the journal Virology, re-examined the survival time of the coronavirus or the SARS-CoV-2 on certain surfaces and concluded that the virus can stay for much longer than previously assumed or shown by research.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the majority of the research on the coronavirus has shown that the virus can stay for no longer than seventy-two hours on most of the surfaces.
Additionally, it may not even live for one day on the surfaces people usually come into contact with on a daily basis.
The new research, which was conducted by a team of researchers from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), challenges these views by highlighting how the virus is viable even after twenty days on some surfaces.
Previously, the most commonly used data on the virus stated that SARs-CoV-2 stays for no longer than three days on plastic or metal surfaces. This time can too be shortened depending on other factors such as temperature and humidity levels.
The CSIRO built on this data and continued to see the survival time of the virus on other surfaces and how the aforementioned factors can make a difference.
During the research, the team found that the commonly used findings from existent studies may not be universal and that the virus can stay for much longer than previously thought.
For instance, the team discovered that the coronavirus can stay on glass surfaces, such as those of smartphones for a time period of twenty-eight days. Similarly, the virus can stay for an even longer time on currency notes.
Where plastic currency notes had a lower coronavirus survival rate, the virus could stay on conventional paper notes as well as in wallets for up to a month.
The survival rate of the coronavirus was also higher on some fabric such as cotton, which showed that researchers that there is still a lot of scientific investigation required on the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Although the team states that further research is needed, the findings of the new study show the possibility of a much higher transmission rate of the coronavirus.
They can also help in explaining how the virus spread quickly in countries that imposed lockdowns and followed all preventive measures as well as even some of the strange cases which were traced back to surfaces or objects which are highly unlikely to spread the infection.
For example, two cases of the coronavirus infection were traced back by the researchers to a trash bin in New Zealand. According to data on the cases, there is also a possibility that the people in both of the cases contracted the virus days apart.
However, researchers in the new study clarified that the findings do not suggest that spread through contact may have spread the infection more that airborne transmission of the virus.
Airborne spread of the SARS-CoV-2 is primarily responsible for the majority of the cases. On the other hand, transmission through contact is the reason for contracting the virus in only one-third of the total cases of coronavirus.