SARS-CoV-2 (shown here in an electron microscope picture). Credit: National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found. One discovery found that frequent hand washing is required to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for around 1.8 hours, by comparison, according to the study published this month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the strain of virus that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission compared to IAV (Influenza A Virus), accelerating the pandemic,” it said .

The research team tested the skin taken from autopsy samples about a day after death.

Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by the application of ethanol, which is used in hand sanitizers.

“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 says.

The study supports the World Health Organization’s guidelines for regular and thorough hand washing to limit transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people worldwide since it first appeared in China late last year.

A study shows that the risk of newborns from mothers with COVID-19 is very low

© 2020 AFP

Quote: Coronavirus survives on the skin five times longer than flu: Study (2020, October 18), accessed October 18, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-coronavirus-survives-skin-longer-flu .html

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