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Study: How temperature affects coronavirus transmission
It is known that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted from person to person, the transmission appearing to take place primarily by droplet infection. However, transfers via surfaces are also not excluded. Researchers have now investigated how long the pathogen remains infectious on surfaces at different temperatures.
Although some experts believe that infections with the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus above surfaces are unlikely, this risk of infection cannot be excluded. It is therefore important to know how long the pathogen remains infectious on surfaces. And also whether and how the temperature affects the virus.
Surface transfers are not excluded
Infection with the novel corona virus probably occurs primarily through droplets. Aerosols in the air we breathe also seem to play a role. In addition, transmissions via surfaces are not excluded, especially in hospitals.
According to a message from the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), a Swiss-German research team has investigated how long dried SARS-CoV-2 particles remain infectious on surfaces at different temperatures.
"Surprisingly, it doesn't matter whether it's very cold or very hot," explains Prof. Dr. Stephanie Pfänder from the Department of Molecular and Medical Virology at the RUB. The study was published in the journal "Journal of Infection".
The risk of infection drops sharply in the first hour
According to the announcement, the infectivity of the viruses decreased 100-fold in the course of the drying process on metal plates within the first hour.
In the following four to eight hours, the number of infectious particles hardly decreased at first and then slowly decreased, but almost regardless of the temperature.
The scientists found contagious particles on the metal samples for 180 hours, more than a week after the virus had been applied.
At four degrees Celsius, the number of infectious virus particles halved after about 13 hours, at room temperature after about nine hours and at 30 degrees Celsius after about 18 hours.
Potentially lower infection rate in summer
"Until now, it was assumed that the temperature contributed to the fact that Sars-Cov-2 did not transmit well in summer," said Stephanie Pfänder.
"At least on surfaces, the stability of the viruses does not seem to be affected by the different temperatures."
A potentially lower infection rate in summer could be due to other factors such as UV radiation and air humidity. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Ruhr University Bochum (RUB): How the temperature affects Sars-Cov-2, (accessed: June 13, 2020), Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)
- Annika Kratzel, Silvio Steiner, Daniel Todt, Philip V’kovski, Yannick Brüggemann, Joerg Steinmann, Eike Steinmann, Volker Thiel, Stephanie Pfaender: Temperature-dependent surface stability of SARS-CoV-2; in: Journal of Infection, (published: 30.05.2020), Journal of Infection