Japanese researchers found that the coronavirus remained active on human skin for nine hours, finding the need for frequent hand washing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pathogen that causes the flu survives on human skin for about 1.8 hours for comparison, according to a study published this month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“Nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (a strain of the virus that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission compared to IAV (influenza A virus), thereby accelerating the pandemic.”
The research team tested the skin collected from the autopsies about a day after death.
Both coronavirus and influenza virus are inactivated within 15 seconds using ethanol, which is used in hand sanitizers.
“Longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases the risk of contact transmission; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk, ”the study said.
The study supports the recommendations of the World Health Organization on regular and thorough hand washing to limit the transmission of the virus, which has infected nearly 40 million people worldwide since it appeared in China late last year.