Coronavirus can survive on ANY surface for nine days and you could get infected just by touching, shows study

Disinfectants such as alcohol and bleach may cut people's exposure to the virus


                            Coronavirus can survive on ANY surface for nine days and you could get infected just by touching, shows study
(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)

The new coronavirus may be able to survive on inanimate objects for up to nine days. This suggests that people could contract the infection by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, predict scientists.

"In hospitals, these can be door handles, for example, but also call buttons, bedside tables, bed frames and other objects in the direct vicinity of patients, which are often made of metal or plastic," explains Professor Günter Kampf from the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the Greifswald University Hospital.

Additionally, Kampf and his colleagues present ways to control the spread. They add that disinfectants such as alcohol and bleach may cut people's exposure to the virus.

So far, data suggests that the Wuhan virus spreads through close contact with an infected patient or inhaling droplets when they cough or sneeze. 

A recent study has detected the virus in feces. The first US patient diagnosed with the condition experienced loose bowel movements for two days.  The virus was subsequently detected in his stool. Scientists have documented similar cases in China as well.

Disinfectants such as alcohol and bleach may cut people's exposure to the virus (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

After analyzing various studies on coronaviruses, researchers found that these viruses are capable of surviving on surfaces between four and five days. "Low temperature and high air humidity further increase their lifespan," says Kampf.

To get rid of the virus, the team recommends using disinfectants such as those based on ethanol, hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite.  If these agents are applied in appropriate concentrations, they reduce the number of infectious coronaviruses.  For example, from one million to only 100 pathogenic viruses.  "As a rule, this is sufficient to significantly reduce the risk of infection," explains Kampf.

The review suffers from one major shortcoming: the lack of sufficient information on the new coronavirus.  So the team had to rely on other types of coronaviruses like SARS and MERS to arrive at these conclusions.

However, the authors predict that the Wuhan virus is likely to follow a similar trajectory. "Different coronaviruses were analyzed, and the results were all similar," says Eike Steinmann, one of the authors of the study.

The study has been published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.

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