Human Coronaviruses Can Remain Infectious on Inanimate Surfaces For Up To Nine Days, New Review Says

According to a review of previous studies, published online February 6, 2020 in the Journal of Hospital Infection, human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus...

Human Coronaviruses Can Remain Infectious on Inanimate Surfaces For Up To Nine Days, New Review Says

According to a review of previous studies, published online February 6, 2020 in the Journal of Hospital Infection, human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days; surface disinfection with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 62-71% ethanol significantly reduces coronavirus infectivity on surfaces within one minute exposure time.

 

Currently, the emergence of a novel human coronavirus, officially named COVID-19 and provisionally named 2019-nCoV, has become a global health concern causing severe respiratory tract infections in humans.
Human-to-human transmissions have been described with incubation times between 2-10 days, facilitating its spread via droplets, contaminated hands or surfaces.

“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,” said Professor Günter Kampf, a researcher in the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the Greifswald University Hospital.

Professor Kampf and colleagues reviewed the literature on all available information about the persistence of human coronaviruses including emerging SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV as well as veterinary coronaviruses such as transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and canine coronavirus (CCV) on inanimate surfaces as well as inactivation strategies with biocidal agents used for chemical disinfection, e.g. in healthcare facilities.

The analysis of 22 studies revealed that human coronaviruses can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days. On average, they survive between 4 and 5 days.

“Low temperature and high air humidity further increase their lifespan,” Professor Kampf said.

 

Tests with various disinfection solutions showed that human coronaviruses can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within one minute.“If these agents are applied in appropriate concentrations, they reduce the number of infectious coronaviruses by four so-called log steps within one minute: this means, for example, from one million to only 100 pathogenic particles,” the researchers noted.

“If preparations based on other active ingredients are used, the product should be proven to be at least effective against enveloped viruses (limited virucidal activity).”

Other biocidal agents such as 0.05-0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate were less effective.

“The results from the analyses of other coronaviruses are transferable to the COVID-19 virus,” the scientists said.


“Different coronaviruses were analyzed, and the results were all similar,” added Professor Eike Steinmann, head of the Department for Molecular and Medical Virology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.