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Study: COVID survives on the skin for 9 hours, 5 times longer than the flu

TOKYO, Japan – The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers found that in a discovery they showed the need to wash hands often to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison, says the study published this month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

“The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 [the virus strain that causes COVID-19] on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission compared to IAV [influenza A virus], thus accelerating the pandemic, “he said.

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The research team tested the skin collected from autopsy specimens about a day after death.

Medical personnel wearing protective clothing move the body of a patient who died from complications of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, at the coronavirus ward of Ziv Medical Center in the northern city of Safed on 7 October 2020 (David Cohen / Flash90 )

Both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol, which is used in hand sanitizers.

“The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases the risk of transmission by contact; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk, ”the study said.

The study supports World Health Organization guidelines for regular and thorough hand washing to limit transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people worldwide since its appearance in China late last year. .

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