The SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on human skin for a much longer duration if left untouched compared to flu viruses extending up to nine hours, a new study from Japan revealed.
To avoid possibly infecting healthy volunteers, the researchers from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan, conducted the study using cadaver skin. The study showed that while influenza A virus (IVA) survived less than two hours on human skin, the novel coronavirus survived up to 9.4 hours.
“We evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A virus (IAV), mixed with culture medium or upper respiratory mucous, on human skin surfaces and the dermal disinfection effectiveness of 80% (w/w) ethanol against SARS-CoV-2 and IAV,” the researchers noted in the study.
However, the team found that both viruses were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by hand sanitizer containing 80% alcohol. The study emphasises the importance of washing hands and/or using alcohol-based sanitisers to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using alcohol-based hand rubs with 60% to 95% alcohol or thoroughly washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the transmission of the virus.
The study has been published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.