TOKYO, Japan – Coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery that they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pathogen that causes influenza survives on human skin for approx. 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study, published this month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 [the virus strain that causes COVID-19] on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission compared to IAV [influenza A virus]thus speeding up the pandemic, ”it said.
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The research group tested skin collected from autopsy samples approx. one day after death.
Both coronavirus and influenza virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand cleaners.
“The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases the risk of contact transmission; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk, ”the study said.
The study supports the World Health Organization’s guide to regular and thorough hand washing to limit the transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people around the world since it first appeared in China at the end of last year.