A new strain of coronavirus has caused the current outbreak of a lung disease, recently named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The disease can be fatal, especially in older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Preventing further infections is, thus, very important. The transmission of coronaviruses via contaminated surfaces could be possible, so it is vital to know how long the viruses can persist on surfaces and which disinfectants can be used to sanitize them.
Günter Kampf, Greifswald Medical School, Germany, and colleagues have performed a literature review focusing on previously known coronaviruses and analyzed the available data on how long coronaviruses can live on hard surfaces (metal, glass, plastic) and which ingredients in disinfectants can inactivate them. The team compiled information on human viruses, such as the coronaviruses that cause Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), as well as animal viruses such as the canine coronavirus (CCV).
The team found that human coronaviruses can persist on surfaces for up to nine days, depending on the material of the surface and the temperature. The collected data also showed that this type of virus can be efficiently inactivated by disinfection with sufficiently concentrated ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium hypochlorite solutions. Other disinfectants such as benzalkonium chloride seem to be less effective. The suitable disinfection of surfaces could prevent the transmission of the virus, especially in a hospital setting. Based on their review of the data, the researchers recommend doubling the typically used concentration of sodium hypochlorite solutions from 0.05 % to 0.1 % in hospitals where the new coronavirus is an issue.
- Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and its inactivation with biocidal agents,
Günter Kampf, Daniel Todt, Stephanie Pfaender, Eike Steinmann,
J. Hosp. Infect. 2020.
Update (March 14, 2020): There is new research on this topic.
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