The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive at least 28 days on surfaces such as plastic or steel at a temperature of 20 degrees, according to a study by the Australian scientific agency published on Monday.

The SARS-CoV-2 responsible for the pandemic that has infected more than 37 million people on the planet, including 1.1 million deaths , can survive about 10 days longer than the flu virus, says the Organization for the Commonwealth of Australia Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIRO).

“At 20 degrees, which is room temperature, we found the virus to be extremely strong, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found in cell phones and plastic bills,” said Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Center. Australian CSIRO Disease Preparedness.

Lower heat resistance

While at 30 degrees his chances of survival are 21 days in paper bills and seven in plastic or stainless steel money.

If the temperature is 40 degrees, SARS-CoV-2 can be kept for 48 hours on plastic surfaces, one day on glass, steel, and paper and plastic banknotes, and less than 16 hours on cotton garments , according to this research published in the scientific journal Virology Journal .

CSIRO scientists, whose research suggests that high temperatures reduce the possibility of COVID-19 infections, inserted a dried virus into artificial mucus and placed amounts similar to samples collected from infected patients on various surfaces.

In this way, they re-isolated this coronavirus for a month under conditions in which the temperature was varied, and they also placed the samples in the dark to remove the effect of ultraviolet rays.

“While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of contact with the surface, and the amount of virus required for infection are yet to be determined, we can establish how long this virus survives on surfaces,” Eagles stressed. .

Other factors

For his part, Trevor Drew, director of the Australian Center for Preparedness against Diseases of CSIRO, explained that the time the virus survives outside its carrier depends on the type of virus , the amount in which it occurs, the surface, the conditions environmental conditions or how to expel it from the body.

“Proteins and fats in human fluids also significantly increase the survival time of the virus,” Drew said.

CISRO scientists hope that their discovery will contribute to developing risk mitigation strategies in high contact areas, as well as in understanding the apparent persistent contagion in cold environments with high protein or lipid contamination such as slaughterhouses.