Summer Sunlight Can Destroy COVID-19 Virus On Surfaces: Study

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The New York Post recently cited a new study that says hard sunlight can destroy up to 90% or more of the COVID-19 virus present on surfaces in just 34 minutes. It presents us with new hope, especially for countries with hotter climatic conditions.

About The Study

The study authored by Jose-Luis Sagripanti and David Lytle called ‘Estimated Inactivation of Coronaviruses by Solar Radiation With Special Reference to COVID‐19′ was published earlier this month in the journal ‘Photochemistry and Photobiology’. The data presented indicate that the virus will inactivate relatively faster during the summer. Scientists suggest that the midday sunlight in a large number of cities around the globe is exceptionally potent in rendering the virus causing COVID-19 inactive. The results show that strong sunlight can end the active life of the virus in 34 minutes.

The model used to conduct the study, previously estimated inactivation of Ebola and Lassa viruses. The report said, the virus causes maximum damage from December till March when it lives on surfaces for even over a day, while posing a risk of transmission. The research indicates that it would take around 34 minutes in the summer, an hour and 40 minutes in autumn, four hours in the spring and five-plus hours in the winter, to destroy the virus in London The Telegraph reports.

The study also indicates that the compulsory home quarantine orders given in the hopes of halting coronavirus spread could have been harmful rather than beneficial. “In contrast, healthy people outdoors receiving sunlight could have been exposed to lower viral dose with more chances for mounting an efficient immune response,” the study said.

The results show that strong sunlight can end the active life of the virus within 34 minutes.

Also Read: How Will Coronavirus Pandemic Change The Way We Travel, Forever

Similar findings by the Department of  Homeland Security 

The Department of Homeland Security in April showed the impact of UV on the virus. The droplets of saliva thrive in dry, shady conditions but fade out in direct sunlight. Half-life is the amount of time a specific amount of virus takes to reduce to half. It decreases as the temperature and humidity rise. In indoor conditions, the half-life drops from 18 to one hour as the temperature accelerates from room temperature to 95°F. The increase in humidity from 20% to 80% aids the reduction.

Studies conducted earlier had contrasting results 

In March this year, MIT researchers published their findings which suggested COVID-19 not spreading in warm and humid regions as inaccurate. They concluded with the need for effective public health interventions across the world. Sunlight cannot be considered as the ultimate weapon to combat the virus. William N. Bryan, acting undersecretary for science and technology at the Homeland Security Department calls the hot summer conditions as “another tool in toolbox”.

However, due to the novel nature of the virus, a lot more study of its behaviour and nature is needed to determine what we are truly up against.

Also Read: What needs to go right to get a coronavirus vaccine in 12-18 months

Bhavya Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.