SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can survive on human skin samples for about 9 hours, according to the study. Otherwise, strain virus influenza A (IAV) remains on human skin for only 2 hours.
Fortunately, both viruses on the skin can be quickly deactivated with hand sanitizer. The findings underscore the importance of washing hands or using sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“This study suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may have a higher risk of contact transmission (i.e. transmission from direct contact) than IAV because the former is much more stable in human skin (than the latter,” write the authors in their published paper. online October 3, 2020, in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“These findings support the hypothesis that proper hand hygiene is important for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2,” said the researchers again.
Earlier in the pandemic, researchers in the US analyzed how long SARS-CoV-2 could last on surfaces. As a result, the virus can survive on the copper surface for up to 4 hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on plastic and stainless steel with a higher resistance, which is up to 72 hours.
Live Science reports that examining how long the virus can survive on human skin is more complicated. You can’t just put a sample of a potentially deadly virus in people’s hands.
So for this new study, researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan, created a skin model using human skin samples obtained from an autopsy. Samples were collected approximately one day after death.