Coronavirus can survive on human skin for up to nine hours – four times longer than the flu can live on our hands or faces, according to new study results
- The researchers mixed samples of the coronavirus and influenza A virus with samples of human skin taken from autopsies 24 hours earlier
- The flu virus survived on the skin for less than two hours, while the coronavirus lived up to nine hours
- Both viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by a hand sanitiser containing 80% alcohol
- The team says the results show the coronavirus has a higher risk of contact transmission than the flu and the importance of hand washing
The new coronavirus can survive on human skin for up to several hours, according to a new study.
In laboratory experiments, the researchers tested cadaver skin that would otherwise have been used for skin transplants.
They found that the virus survived nine hours, four times longer than the influenza A virus can live.
The team at Kyoto Prefecture Medical University in Japan says information about how long the virus has survived on the skin can help develop approaches to preventing contact transmission and shows the importance of hand washing.
The researchers mixed samples of the coronavirus and influenza A virus with samples of human skin taken from autopsies 24 hours earlier (above).
The flu virus survived on the skin cells for less than two hours, while the coronavirus lived up to nine hours (above).
Both viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by a hand sanitiser containing 80% alcohol. Pictured: Medical staff attend to a patient suffering from coronavirus in the intensive care unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista, California on May 12
"The stability of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) on human skin is unknown, given the dangers of viral exposure in humans," the authors wrote.
"We have created a model that enables the safe reproduction of clinical studies on the application of pathogens to human skin and examines the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on human skin."
For the study, which was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the team obtained human skin from forensic autopsy samples 24 hours earlier.
Researchers say this was done to avoid infection of healthy volunteers.
Skin cells were mixed with samples of the coronavirus and influenza virus A, which is also spread through droplets and human contact.
The results showed that the flu virus lived on the skin for about 1.8 hours.
In comparison, the survival time of the coronavirus on human skin was around nine hours, significantly longer than that of the influenza strain.
"These results show that SARS-CoV-2 is significantly more stable on human skin than the (influenza A virus)," the authors wrote.
When the coronavirus was mixed with mucus from upper respiratory tract samples, it lived about 11 hours, compared to 1.69 hours for the flu virus.
Both viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by a hand sanitiser containing 80 percent alcohol.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using alcohol-based hand massages that are 60 to 95 percent alcohol, or washing hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Studies have shown that COVID-19 transmission occurs largely via aerosols and droplets.
Nevertheless, the authors conclude: “This study shows that SARS-CoV-2 has a higher risk of contact transmission than (Influenza A virus), since the former is much more stable on the human skin than the former.
& # 39; These results support the hypothesis that proper hand hygiene is important to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
"Thus, this study can help develop better control strategies in the context of COVID-19 in order to prevent the occurrence of the second or third wave of this pandemic."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Health (t) Japan (t) Coronavirus