Covid-19: How long can the virus survive on the skin?

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Questions still arise about the shelf life of Covid-19 in plastic, clothing, in the air, in water, or in cartons. But do we know how long Covid-19 survives on the skin?

Covid-19 is transmitted through sputum or droplets that are expelled when a person talks, coughs or sneezes, but also through infected surfaces or objects. The shelf life of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus is not the same depending on the material or surface on which it is projected. Therefore, the virus could survive up to 3 days on steel and plastic, up to 4 hours on copper and up to 24 hours on cardboard.

But how long does it last on the skin? This is the question that Japanese researchers at Kyoto Medical University attempted to answer in a study published Oct. 3 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Covid-19: the virus could survive more than 9 hours on the skin

"We evaluated the stability of Sars-CoV-2 and the influenza A virus, mixed with a culture medium or mucus from the upper respiratory tract, on the skin and the effectiveness of skin disinfection against Covid-19. And the influenza A virus, "the researchers wrote in the study.

According to the results of this work, the virus could survive more than 9 hours on the skin. Scientists have also discovered that the coronavirus is more resistant than the seasonal flu virus because it has a lifespan of less than two hours in the epidermis. Mixed with mucus samples from the upper respiratory tract, the coronavirus survived for about 11 hours, compared with about an hour for the flu virus.

Covid-19: the need to wash your hands

The two viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds with a hydroalcoholic solution containing 80% alcohol. "The 9-hour lifespan of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus on the skin may increase the risk of contact transmission compared to the influenza virus, thus accelerating the pandemic. Good hand hygiene is important to prevent infection. Spread of Sars-CoV-2 Infections, "the study authors note.

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