The COVID-19 virus can remain active on smooth surfaces for much longer than the flu virus, according to researchers at Australia’s National Science Agency. Such smooth surfaces include smartphones, metal surfaces and paper money. The researchers found that the virus can remain viable for up to 28 days, albeit in a tightly controlled environment. According to the study, under the same conditions, the influenza virus remains infectious for “only” 17 days.
The study proves the coronavirus is “extremely resistant” compared to other viruses, the team said.
“These results demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious for significantly longer periods of time than is usually considered possible,” the study said.
It should be noted that tissue and other porous surfaces can only carry active virus for half the time, or about 14 days.
Thus, the study shows the importance of cleaning and disinfecting the surface of smartphones and other smooth devices. However, a few caveats need to be made. The coronavirus remains viable for 28 days under a number of conditions. Specifically, the study was conducted at a constant temperature of 20 degrees Celsius in the dark to neutralize the effects of ultraviolet light.
The experiment also did not use fresh mucus (usually present with viruses on the surface), which contains leukocytes and antibodies.
“In my opinion, viable viruses can persist in mucus on the surface for hours, not days,” said Cardiff University professor Ron Ackles.