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The fomite issue: we now have a better idea how long the novel coronavirus lives outside the human body

by Tommy Underhill
March 18, 2020

Yesterday, March 17, 2020, the New England Journal of Medicine published a letter from a research team on Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1.

The team consisted of researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Princeton University; University of California, Los Angeles; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined

  • SARS-CoV-2 is more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard.
  • Viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to plastic and stainless steel.
  • On copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours.
  • On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours.
  • On cardboard, the half-life of SARS-CoV-2 was longer than that of SARS-CoV-1.
  • The longest viability of both viruses was on stainless steel and plastic; the estimated median half-life of SARS-CoV-2 was approximately 5.6 hours on stainless steel and 6.8 hours on plastic.

The median half-life of a virus is a measurement of the length of time required for half of the total sample to no longer be viable. For example, a median half-life of 6.8 hours means that in 6.8 hours, there will be 50% of the virus viable. After another 6.8 hours there will be 25% of the original sample still viable. In another 6.8 hours there will be 12.5% left... and so on until there is no viable virus remaining.

The research team determined their results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to days (depending on the inoculum shed).


A comprehensive, one-step solution

GreenTech Heat has been used to disinfect schools, churches, offices, and public buildings of other viruses, including the bird flu virus, H5N1, and the swine flu virus, H1N1.

Tom Costello, Technical Director at GreenTech Heat, said, “Treating structures with the heat process will slow this contagion without the need to wipe down contents with chemical disinfectants to eliminate fomites on surfaces.” Previous coronaviruses including SARS and MERS could last as long as two weeks in an air-conditioned environment. As additional research is conducted and published on SARS-CoV-2, the GreenTech Heat process will continue to provide legitimate peace of mind that the structure is free of viral contamination.

A single treatment with temperatures only slightly higher and durations slightly longer than an aggressive bed bug treatment will eliminate organisms throughout the treatment area. A complete listing can be found in Bed Bug Heat Treatment Field Guide.

GreenTech Heat technology allows you to self-treat with heat for the coronavirus on your schedule and as your needs demand. Our certified training lets you do it right and do it safely the first time. Regardless of whether you self-treat with heat, or contract a heat professional, heat safely kills the coronavirus everywhere it may be found in a single one-day treatment. Call us at 888-699-3944 to get started with heat today.

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