COVID-19: The virus can live on human skin for 9 hours

19th  October 2020: Japanese researchers have discovered that COVID-19 stays on human skin for nine hours.

According to reports, a study shows that the coronavirus can stay on human skin for nine hours, stressing the need for frequent hand washing to fight the on-going pandemic.

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

The study backs World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance for regular and thorough hand washing to limit the spread of the virus.

“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 in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic,” it said.

The research team carried out the tests on the skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death.

It is said that both the coronavirus and the flu virus get inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitisers.

“The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk,” the study said.

The deadly virus has infected nearly 40 million people around the world since it first emerged in China late last year, and 1,111,998 deaths, reported to WHO so far.

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