The novel coronavirus that has been spreading at an alarming rate is the subject of various research and studies across the globe. There have been several findings indicating preventive measures and prospective effects it might have on us. One such study revealed that the virus can remain viable and infectious in droplets in the air for hours and on surfaces up to days.

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The scientists attempted to mimic the spread of the virus in a hospital or household setting, by making the infected people touch everyday surfaces or cough to envisage the number of days the droplets remain in the air.

The study

A part of the US National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) had conducted a study to reflect more on the contraction of the deadly virus. The scientists attempted to mimic the spread of the virus in a hospital or household setting, by making the infected people touch everyday surfaces or cough to envisage the number of days the droplets remain in the air.

The research was led by Neeltje van Doremalen of the NIAID’s Montana facility at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. The team used a device to dispense an aerosol that could duplicate the microscopic viral droplets created in a cough or a sneeze. The scientists then investigated how long SARS-CoV-2 remained infectious on these surfaces and published the results in an online study in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday.

The tests manifested a startling result as it has been proven that the virus would remain viable on the surfaces for at least three hours.

The results

The tests manifested a startling result as it has been proven that the virus would remain viable on the surfaces for at least three hours. The viable virus could be detected on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to three days. On cardboard, it was not viable after one day and it took four hours on copper objects to be destroyed completely.

There have been some crucial findings on the half-life of the virus on different surfaces as well. Half-life refers to the time required by a body to decrease by half. It takes about 66 minutes for half of the virus particles to become inactive if they are in an aerosol droplet. This implies that it would take another hour and six minutes to destroy three-quarters of the virus particles but 25% will still be viable in the air. The amount of the viable virus would plunge to 12.5% after the third hour.

While it takes about 5 hours and 38 minutes on stainless steel before half of the virus stops functioning, the half-life of the coronavirus on plastic is 6 hours and 49 minutes. Half of the virus would take about three-and-a-half hours to become inactive, when on cardboard. Copper proved to have the shortest survival time for the virus, wherein, it would take 46 minutes for half of the virus to reach an inactive or dysfunctioning stage.

The scientists who conducted the research have said that the numbers are variable and have advised the interpreters to remain cautious and take even the minutest errors into consideration.

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Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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