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Surfaces covered with SARS-CoV-2 become safe in 2 to 6 hours, scientists say

In general, all viral specimens became unviable in two hours

MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. A group of Russian scientists, led by Gamaleia Research Institute lead researcher Vladimir Guschin, examined the coronavirus particles survivability on various surfaces and discovered that, in most cases, they become unviable in 2 to 6 hours. Their research was published at the bioRxiv online library.

"Our research […] indicates that coronavirus particles can stay on many materials for tens of hours. The virus’ presence in itself, however, does not mean that the surface is dangerous for humans or could act as a source of infection," the researchers said.

The scientists tested five different surface materials: SARS-CoV-2 particles were administered to ceramics, metal, wood, fabric and plastic. The virus and the materials were stored in common lab conditions.

The following observations revealed that, while viral RNA traces could have been easily discovered on all five surfaces for over five hours, their viability varied vastly between materials, depending on time they spent outside of cellular cultures.

In general, all viral specimens became unviable in two hours. This happened fastest with SARS-CoV-2 specimen, administered on fabrics and plastics, while particles administered on ceramics lasted the longest, only losing its viability after six hours.

These results prove that presence of large amounts of viral RNA on surfaces do not automatically mean that the surface is contagious to people touching it, the scientists say, adding that this fact must be taken into consideration when planning further development of the pandemic and preventive measures.