New York: How long can the new novel coronavirus sustain on
external sources? A new study has found the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus
2 (SARS-CoV-2) was stable for several hours to days altogether in aerosols and
The virus could last longer on plastic and stainless steel –
upto two or three days but only upto 24 hours on cardboards, according to the
research carried out by scientists of the US-based National Institute of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The findings, published in the New England Journal of
Medicine, stress the need to take precautionary measures like avoid touching of
hand railings at public places and public transport systems. However, it puts
at rest the fears about spreading of the virus through deliveries.
It also found the virus can last long for upto three hours in
aerosols, which however appears to contradict the World Health Organisation’s
observation that the virus is not transported by air.
The scientists attempted to compare the new virus with that
of SARS-CoV-1, which caused SARS, in five environmental conditions – aerosols,
plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard. The additional observations
included that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 might be spreading the virus without
recognizing or before the onset of symptoms. The same would make disease
control measures, that were effective against SARS-CoV-1, have less impact
against the novel coronavirus.
A separate study held by researchers at the University of
Texas at Austin too analysed how quickly the novel coronavirus can spread. They
found the interval between cases in a chain of transmission is less than a week
and that over 10 per cent of patients are infected by those with virus presence
but yet to develop symptoms.
“The data suggest that this coronavirus may spread like the flu. That means we need to move quickly and aggressively to curb the emerging threat,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of the Integrative Biology at the University of Texas.