Coronavirus can live on human skin for nine hours, study finds

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(NEXSTAR) — An encounter with coronavirus can apparently stick with you and remain a threat through an entire work day.

A new study out of Japan found that SARS-CoV-2, more commonly known as the coronavirus, can stay alive on human skin for about nine hours. By comparison, a tested strain of more common influenza virus stayed alive for around two hours.

The findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, adds understanding to the window of infection for the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The 9-(hour) survival of SARS-CoV-2 on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with (Influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic,” the researchers wrote in a summary of the work. “Proper hand hygiene is important to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infections.”

In short, the findings suggest that we won’t be slowing down our hand washing or buying fewer bottles of hand sanitizer in the near future.

However, researchers out of the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine report that coronavirus and the more common flu were “inactivated” faster on human skin than on harder surfaces such as glass and stainless steel.

The study also found that quality sanitizers can kill off both the coronavirus and Influenza A in roughly 15 seconds.

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