The novel coronavirus may last up to 28 days on glass screens or banknotes, a recent study by Australia’s top biosecurity laboratory has found.
The study assumes significance as glass covers several commonly touched surfaces such as mobile phones, ATMs, airport check-in kiosks, etc.
Although surface or fomite transmission is not yet proven, the study underlines the potential for transmission through touchscreens and banknotes.
Study involved drying coronavirus in artificial mucus on different surfaces
The study was conducted by researchers at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) and received funding from Australia’s defense department.
It involved drying the coronavirus in an artificial mucus on different surfaces—such as stainless steel, paper note, polymer note, glass, etc.—to analyze the survivability of the virus on those surfaces under specific conditions.
The virus was then re-isolated over a month later.
Virus survives longer on smoother surfaces
The study—published in Virology Journal—found that the virus can survive longer on nonporous or smooth surfaces, compared with porous complex surfaces, such as cotton.
Thus, the virus may remain viable longer on smooth surfaces such as glass or plastic.
“The persistence of both SARS and SARS-CoV-2 on cotton has been demonstrated to be significantly shorter than on non-porous surfaces,” the study noted.
Virus may survive up to 28 days on some surfaces
The virus may survive up to 28 days at room temperature (20°C) on glass, stainless steel, and paper/polymer banknotes.
At 40°C, the virus’s survival dropped to less than a day on some surfaces.
The persistence on glass is an important finding, given that touchscreen devices such as mobile phones, bank ATMs, airport check-in kiosks are high touch surfaces, the researchers noted.