U.S. Study Indicates Coronavirus May Survive In The Air For Up to 3 Hours, 3 Days On Certain Surfaces

Thursday, March 12, 2020
By Paul Martin

Chris Menahan
Mar. 12, 2020

A federally funded study reportedly found the coronavirus may survive in the air for up to three hours and survive on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for some three days.

From The Hill, “Tests indicate coronavirus can survive in the air”:

A study awaiting peer review from scientists at Princeton University, the University of California-Los Angeles and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) posted online Wednesday indicated that the COVID-19 virus could remain viable in the air “up to 3 hours post aerosolization,” while remaining alive on plastic and other surfaces for up to three days.

“Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for 42 multiple hours and on surfaces up to days,” reads the study’s abstract.

The test results suggest that humans could be infected by the disease simply carried through the air or on a solid surface, even if direct contact with an infected person does not occur. That finding, if accepted, would come in stark contrast to previous media reports that suggested the virus was not easily transmittable outside of direct human contact.

Here’s excerpts from the full study:
We found that viable virus could be detected in aerosols up to 3 hours post aerosolization, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2-3 days on plastic and stainless steel. HCoV-19 and SARS-CoV-1 exhibited similar half-lives in aerosols, with median estimates around 2.7 hours. Both viruses show relatively long viability on stainless steel and polypropylene compared to copper or cardboard: the median half-life estimate for HCoV-19 is around 13 hours on steel and around 16 hours on polypropylene. Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 is plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.

[…] HCoV-19 has been detected in upper and lower respiratory tract samples from patients, with high viral loads in upper respiratory tract samples. Therefore, virus transmission via respiratory secretions in the form of droplets (>5 microns) or aerosols (<5 microns) appears to be likely. Virus stability in air and on surfaces may directly affect virus transmission, as virus particles need to remain viable long enough after being expelled from the host to be taken up by a novel host. [...] HCoV-19 nCoV-WA1-2020 (MN985325.1) and SARS-CoV-1 Tor2 (AY274119.3) were the strains used in our comparison. Virus stability in aerosols was determined as described previously at 65% relative humidity (RH) and 21-23°C. "In ongoing experiments, we are studying virus viability in different matrices, such as nasal secretion, sputum and fecal matter, and while varying environmental conditions, such as temperature and relative humidity," the researchers said. Some early indications and speculations have suggested the virus may be suppressed by high absolute humidity (i.e. 72 degrees Farenheight inside with 50% relative humidity obtained with a humidifier) and may slow down in spring and summer depending on local climates. The Rest...HERE

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