The new coronavirus survives on human skin for longer than one of the flu viruses, points out a study by the Kyoto Prefecture Medical University in Japan, which was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Researchers made two types of mixtures with culture media or respiratory mucus: one with Sars-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19, and the other with Influenza A, one of those responsible for the common flu. For ethical reasons, scientists could not apply a potentially lethal organism to the hands of volunteers; therefore, they used samples obtained from autopsies to create a model of human skin. As they had been collected only one day after death, these grafts still retained most of their functions.
By placing the two mixtures with the viruses on human skin, the researchers noted that Sars-CoV-2 remained active for just over 9 hours, while Influenza A did not survive more than 2 hours.
The study also showed that these viruses resist better on other surfaces – such as stainless steel, glass and plastic.
Despite this difference in survival time on human skin, both the new coronavirus and the influenza virus were completely deactivated in just 15 seconds when they came into contact with 80% (v / v) ethanol.
“The 9-hour survival of Sars-CoV-2 in human skin may increase the risk of transmission by contact compared to influenza A, thereby accelerating the pandemic,” concluded the authors. “Proper hand hygiene is important to prevent the spread of Sars-CoV-2 infections.”