Coronavirus stays in air for hours, on surfaces for two days

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Coronavirus stays in air for hours, on surfaces for two days
Coronavirus stays in air for hours, on surfaces for two days

New Delhi : The novel coronavirus that has killed more than 8000 people and has infected over 2 lakh people across the world can stay in air upto several hours and on the surface up to couple of days, claimed a study.

Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease, is detectable for up to three hours in aerosols, up to four hours on a copper surface, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to two-three days on plastic and stainless steel, found the study published in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

It compared the stability of Sars-Cov-2 in the environment with that of Sars-Cov, which caused the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak that sickened close to 8,000 people in 2002-2003.

However, the scientists claimed that they are closely related, no SARS have been detected since 2004.

"This indicates that differences in the epidemiologic characteristics of these viruses probably arise from other factors, including high viral loads in the upper respiratory tract and the potential for persons infected with Sars-CoV-2 to shed and transmit the virus while asymptomatic," said the study published on Wednesday.

The study also warned that the COVID 19 has capacity to spread from people who do not have the symptoms and are showing mild symptoms for it.

These undiagnosed cases were the source of 79% of reported infections in China before a lockdown was imposed on January 23, said the study published in the journal, Science, on Tuesday.

"If viral shedding is high, there will be higher concentration of aerosols in the air and on surfaces, which makes the risk of transmission higher in hospital settings compared to other groups," said Dr G Anil K Prasad, professor and former head of respiratory virology at Vallabhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi.

Viral shedding is the release of virus in the air or any surface by an infected person.

"Those in ICUs performing intubation on people with severe respiratory diseases are at particular risk and must wear N95 masks to filter out 95% of liquid or airborne particles," he said.