Coronavirus stable for hours to days in external sources, says study

Coronavirus stable for hours to days in external sources, says study

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 on surfaces.

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.

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