Novel Coronavirus Lives on Glass and Currency for 28 Days: Australian Study

On Monday, Australian researchers explained that the virus that leads to COVID-19 can survive on banknotes, glass, and stainless steel for about 28 days, much longer as compared to the flu virus. Researchers also pointed towards the need for cleaning and handwashing to curb the spread of the virus.

The Findings

Findings from the study performed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, seem to show that in a very controlled environment the virus sustained to be infectious for longer than other studies have found.

CSIRO researchers reached a conclusion that at 20 degrees Celsius (i.e. 68 degrees Fahrenheit) the novel coronavirus virus survives for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as banknotes made of plastic and glass of mobile phone screens. The study was published in the Virology Journal. Comparing the findings with that of the Influenza A virus, the novel Coronavirus survived about 11 more days.

“It really reinforces the importance of washing hands and sanitizing where possible and certainly wiping down surfaces that may be in contact with the virus,” according to Shane Riddell, study’s lead researcher.

The study was carried out by drying the virus in artificial mucus on a variety of surfaces. The concentrations were kept identical to samples from COVID-19 patients. The virus was then recovered from the surface after a month.

Experiments performed at 20, 30 and 40 degrees Celsius exhibited the virus survived longer at cooler temperatures, on smooth surfaces, and on paper currency as compared to complex surfaces such as cotton.

Australia in Curbing the Spread

“So heading into summer that’s certainly going to be an important factor that the virus won’t last as long in the warmer temperatures,” Riddell explained, referring to the upcoming southern hemisphere summer.

The experiments were carried out in the dark to nullify the effect of ultraviolet light, as research has explained earlier that direct sunlight can kill the virus.

“So in the real world results would likely be shorter than what we were able to show,” according to Riddell.

Researchers also explained that proteins and fats present in body fluids can also amplify the survival chance of the virus. This study might help in the explanation of the apparent survival and spread of the virus in cool environments similar to meat-packing facilities.

Australia has managed much better as compared to other major countries in curbing the effect of COVID-19. The country has recorded a total of about 27,000 infections and 898 deaths in a population of 25 million.

Victoria State which is the epicenter of the country’s second wave of infection registered 15 new cases on Monday. Considering a minimal increase in positive cases, the government is ready for easing up the strict lockdown in the state capital Melbourne.

New South Wales, which is the most populous state, reported six new cases on Monday, five of whom were returned travelers in quarantine.