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Novel coronavirus survives 28 days on glass, currency, Australian researchers find

Coronavirus. (Photo: thailandmedica.news/Wikipedia)

MELBOURNE, Oct 12 (Reuters) - 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 cleaning and handwashing to combat the virus.

By Sonali Paul

Researchers at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, found that at 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) the SARS-COV-2 virus remained infectious for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as plastic banknotes and glass found on mobile phone screens. The study was published in Virology Journal.

By comparison, Influenza A virus has been found to survive on surfaces for 17 days.

CSIRO’s research involved drying virus in an artificial mucus on a range of surfaces at concentrations similar to samples from COVID-19 patients and then extracting the virus after a month.

Experiments done in controlled laboratory environments at 20, 30 and 40 degrees C showed that the survival time declined as the temperature increased.

“Establishing how long the virus really remains viable on surfaces enables us to more accurately predict and mitigate its spread and do a better job of protecting our people,” CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said in a statement.

Proteins and fats in body fluids can also sharply increase virus survival times.

“The research may also help to explain the apparent persistence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in cool environments with high lipid or protein contamination, such as meat processing facilities, and how we might better address that risk,” said Trevor Drew, director of the CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness.

Australia has fared much better than most other rich nations in combating COVID-19, with a total of about 27,000 infections and 898 deaths in a population of 25 million.

The epicentre of the country’s second wave of infection, Victoria state, reported 15 new cases on Monday, well shy of a target of less than five which the government has set for the easing of a hard lockdown in the state capital Melbourne.

New South Wales, the most populous state, reported six new cases on Monday, five of whom were returned travelers in quarantine. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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  • Belinda Roxburgh says:

    More fear mongering !! Hasn’t this type of reporting done enough damage?Rather focus on life style practices that build immunity and good mental and physical health. The WHO finally admit they don’t support lock downs because they cause exponential growth of poverty which kills many more than any virus (PANDA agrees) and have been saying for a long time that masks only (possibly) advisable if can’t keep a meter distance indoors in crowded place. How is it that South Africans didn’t follow that advice? Many many people are simply still staying at home from fear and mask aversion which certainly doesn’t help the economy.
    Yes, wash your hands- soap and water but please let us go back to live our best lives and manage our own risk.

  • Sensationalist journalism that makes no mention that this experiment was conducted in darkness. “All the experiments were done in the dark to remove the impact of ultraviolet light, as research has shown direct sunlight can kill the virus.” So unless we are due to live through a nuclear winter this is just fearmongering. Disappointed. You cannot omit truth and claim to defend it.

  • Antoinette Jurgens says:

    What I have learnt through the COVID experience and in general, is that science is not an “exact science”. There will be respected scientists with direct opposing views and both groups will claim that they are “following the science”. How do we as laymen in the middle know what/who to believe / trust? ‘The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue…science has taken a turn towards darkness.’ Richard Horton – editor of The Lancet. ‘It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” Marcia Angell – long-time editor of the NEJM. In this instance I agree with Pippa that DM fell into the Eye Witness News trap in this article and put forward the sensational instead of giving the full picture. Also, the fact that a virus can survive, does not mean it is still infections.

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