Covid-19: Virus can survive on touchscreens for 28 days

Covid-19: Virus can survive on touchscreens for 28 days
Researchers at Australia’s national science agency (CSIRO) have discovered that Covid-19 can remain infectious on surfaces such as touchscreens, bank notes, phone screens and stainless steel for up to 28 days.

In a report published on CSIRO’s website, the researchers found that: “At 20°C, the virus was extremely robust. We were able to recover infectious material after 28 days from the smooth (non-porous) surfaces. These are stainless steel, glass, vinyl and paper and polymer banknotes.

Virus samples were dried in an artificial mucous solution on six surfaces, conducting the experiment at 20, 30 and 40 degrees Celsius with a relative humidity at 50%. The virus samples were routinely recovered and placed in tissue culture cells to observe if any infectious virus remained on the surface after 28 days on the test surface. 

“The length of time infectious virus was able to survive on the porous material (cotton cloth) was much shorter. On cloth, we were unable to detect any viable virus past 14 days.

“At 30°C infectious virus did not survive beyond seven days on stainless steel, money (polymer banknotes) and glass. However, on vinyl and cotton cloth, infectious material was not detectable beyond three days.

“At 40°C virus was inactivated much faster. Infectious SARS-CoV-2 was detectable for less than 16 hours for cotton cloth. While on glass, paper and polymer notes, and stainless steel it was detectable for up to 24 hours, and 48 hours for vinyl.”

The report added: "While we can’t yet answer the likelihood of developing COVID-19 from surfaces, we do know the SARS-CoV-2 virus can’t penetrate skin. To catch the disease, you would first need to introduce the virus into your mouth, nose or eyes. Our findings reinforce the message that you should avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth and keep washing your hands. It’s also important to be careful when removing facemasks as the virus can survive on the outside where you could transfer it to your hands."

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