Health and Fitness

COVID-19 Virus Is 'Extremely Robust' And Can Survive 28 Days on Your Phone’s Screen

But there is some good news discovered about the virus. 
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It appears that the virus that’s causing COVID-19 is more robust than previously thought. A team of researchers from Australia have discovered that it can survive up to 28 days on surfaces such as glass, metal, and the surface of your phone. The Australian study was published in the Virology Journal.

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The new discovery lends a new perspective to previous studies that claimed the COVID-19 virus survives just up to three days on these surfaces.

“Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious on surfaces for long periods of time, reinforcing the need for good practices such as regular handwashing and cleaning surfaces,” reads the paper. 

“At 20 degrees Celsius, which is about room temperature, we found that the virus was extremely robust, surviving for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass found on mobile phone screens and plastic banknotes.”

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Although 20 degrees Celsius is not considered room temperature in the Philippines, this is usually the temperature inside air-conditioned rooms or vehicles in the country.

But there is some good news discovered about the virus: It hates the heat. The resilience of the virus on these surfaces significantly weakens when exposed to a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius.

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“At 30 degrees Celsius, infectious virus was recoverable for 7 days from stainless steel, polymer notes and glass, and 3 days for vinyl and cotton cloth,” the study reads.

There is a caveat: The tests were conducted in a dark laboratory without the presence of sunlight or UV light.

More Resilient Than the Flu Virus

The Australian researchers wanted to find out how temperature affects the survival rate of the virus. They discovered that the COVID-19 virus can survive longer in cooler temperatures, especially on smooth surfaces. The researchers also discovered the COVID-19 virus is more resilient than the flu virus.

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How is COVID-19 Transmitted? 

The study concedes that the transmission of COVID-19 from contaminated surfaces or fomites is yet to be fully determined. 

“The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be primarily via aerosols and recent studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 is able to remain infectious in airborne particles for greater than 3 hours,” the researchers stated. 

That means the general consensus among the scientific community is that COVID-19 is an airborne disease that infects people when they inhale particles in the air that contain the virus. 

But the Australian researchers want everybody warned: Many viruses are transferred because of contaminated skin or surfaces, and COVID-19 should not be taken as an exception so easily. 

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“High-contact surfaces such as touchscreens on mobile phones, bank ATMs, airport check-in kiosks and supermarket self-serve kiosks all acting as fomites for the transmission of viruses,” they said. 

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Frequent and regular handwashing remains one of the crucial preventive measures advised by the World Health Organization in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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