NEJM: The New Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Maintains Stability In Aerosols And On The Surface Of Objects For Hours Or Days

- Feb 06, 2020-

The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 caused the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is now raging globally. In a new study, researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the University of California, Los Angeles and Princeton University have discovered that SARS-CoV-2 can neutralize objects in aerosols It remains stable on the surface for a period of hours to days. They found that SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in the aerosol for up to 3 hours, SARS-CoV-2 can be detected on the copper surface for up to 4 hours, and can be detected on the cardboard surface for up to 24 hours SARS-CoV-2 can detect SARS-CoV-2 on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 2 to 3 days. These results provide key information about the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and suggest that people can contract the virus through air and contact with contaminated objects. The relevant research results were published in the NEJM journal on March 17, 2020, and the paper titled "Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1".


The picture is from NEJM, 2020, doi: 10.1056 / NEJMc2004973.

The information of this research has been widely shared in the past two weeks, because these researchers published these contents on the pre-print server MedRxiv, in order to quickly share their data with colleagues from all walks of life.

These researchers compared how the environment affects SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1, which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). During 2002-2003, SARS-CoV-1 raged in China, infecting more than 8,000 people . Through in-depth contact tracking and case isolation measures, SARS-CoV-1 has been eradicated. Since 2004, no SARS-CoV-1 infection cases have been reported. SARS-CoV-1 is the closest human coronavirus to SARS-CoV-2. In this stability study, the two coronaviruses behaved similarly, but unfortunately, this failed to explain why COVID-19 has broken out into a larger epidemic.

This study attempts to simulate the deposition of viruses from infected people onto everyday objects in homes or hospitals, such as by coughing or touching objects. The researchers studied how long the viruses on these surfaces can remain infectious.

These researchers highlighted other observations in their study:

(1) If the viability of these two coronaviruses is similar, why does SARS-CoV-2 cause more cases? There is increasing evidence that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 may begin to spread the virus before they realize the symptoms. This will make effective disease control measures against SARS-CoV-1 less effective for SARS-CoV-2.

(2) Compared with SARS-CoV-1, most secondary cases of SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission seem to occur in the community environment rather than in medical institutions. However, medical institutions are also susceptible to the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2, and the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols and on the surface of objects may contribute to the spread of this virus in medical institutions.

These findings confirm the guidelines from public health professionals that preventive measures similar to the prevention of influenza and other respiratory viruses should be taken to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2:

(1) Avoid close contact with patients;

(2) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth;

(3) Stay at home when sick;

(4) When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue, and then throw the tissue into the trash can;

(5) Use conventional household cleaners or rags to clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. (Bio Valley