Study shows how long coronavirus can survive on cardboard, plastic and steel

This week, the coronavirus was officially recognised as a pandemic, leading to widespread panic about the spread of the disease.

Now, a new study has shed light on exactly how long the virus can survive on various hard surfaces.

Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Montana analysed how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on cardboard, plastic and steel.

In the study, published on Medrxiv , the researchers, led by Dr Neeltje van Doremalen, explained: “Given the potential impact of different routes of transmission on the epidemiology of emerging viruses, it is crucial to quantify the virological traits that may shape these aspects of HCoV-19 transmission.

“Here, we analyze the aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 and compare it with SARSCoV-1, the most closely related coronavirus known to infect humans.”



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Their analysis revealed that the virus can survive for up to four hours on copper and up to 24 hours on cardboard.

However, the results indicate that the virus can survive for the longest time on plastic and stainless steel, surviving for up to three days.

Meanwhile, the study also found that the virus could be detected in aerosols, up to three hours post aerosolisation.

The researchers added: “Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 are plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”

Based on the findings, experts are urging the public to be vigilant about cleaning high-touch surfaces.

This includes countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, bedside table and any surfaces that may have blood, stool or body fluids on them.

The CDC advises using a household cleaning spray or wipe, and to follow the instructions.

It explained: “Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.”

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