TOKYO, Japan – The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers found in a discovery that showed the need for frequent hand washing to fight 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 [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, “the statement said.
Receive the daily issue of The Times of Israel by email and never miss our top news
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.