Wash your hands: the coronavirus can survive on the skin for nine hours

According to a new study just published by Japanese researchers, the novel coronavirus can persist on human skin much longer than flu viruses can. According to the study, Sars-CoV2 remained viable on human skin samples for approximately 9 hours. In contrast, a strain of the dell virusinfluenza A remained viable on human skin for about two hours. Both viruses were quickly inactivated thanks to hand sanitizer (hence the importance, once again reiterated, of washing hands often with soap and water or, when not possible, with hand sanitizer) .This study shows that I respect Sars-Cov-2 flu can be transmitted more easily through contact because it remains more stable on human skin, the authors wrote the research just published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The other surfaces

At the beginning of the pandemic, a group of American researchers studied how long Sars-CoV-2 could stay on surfaces discovering that it stayed up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic and steel. With the passage of time the infectious charge also decreased, in different ways depending on the surface. However, for ethical reasons, examining how long the virus can persist on human skin is more complicated: it would not be acceptable to spray potentially lethal virus on people’s hands to calculate how long it lasts. So, for this new study, researchers at the Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine in Japan created a skin model using human skin samples obtained from autopsies. The samples were collected one day after death. The authors noted that even 24 hours after death, human skin can still be used for skin grafts, meaning it retains much of its functions. For this the scientists concluded that the collected samples were suitable for the experiment.

Mixed with mucus, the coronavirus lasts even longer

Using their model, the authors found that Sars-CoV-2 survived on human skin samples for 9.04 hours, compared to 1.82 hours for the influenza A virus. When these viruses were mixed with mucus, to mimic the release of viral particles when coughing or sneezing, Sars-CoV-2 lasted an even longer time, about 11 hours.. Both viruses were inactivated on the skin 15 seconds after using 80% alcohol hand sanitizer

Uncertainties about the infectious dose

Adequate hand hygiene leads to rapid viral inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and may reduce the high risk of contact infections, the authors commented. The unknown quantity remains as to what the infectious dose is, that is the quantity of viral particles necessary to transmit the infection by touching the contaminated skin. The authors admitted that they did not consider this aspect in their research, which will need to be studied in a new work. The idea is enough to make hand hygiene a must, just like masks.

8 October 2020 (change October 8, 2020 | 09:33)

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