The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can remain active for up to nine hours on human skin, which shows the importance of frequent hand washing to keep the virus at bay.

A study by Japanese researchers, published this month on the Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal, said that in comparison, the flu virus only survives for less than two hours on a similar surface.

"The nine-hour survival of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic," a report by the Japan Times quoted the study, which was done using skin collected from autopsy specimens, about a day after death, as saying.

The longer survival of the deadly virus increases contact-transmission risk, the study added.

However, simple hygienic practices such as frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizer could limit the transmission of the coronavirus.

For instance, the study found that ethanol (alcohol) which is found in hand sanitizers, was found to be able to neutralize both the coronavirus and the common flu viruz within 15 seconds.

A recent study by Australia's national science agency CSIRO published in the Virology Journal, stated that the coronavirus remained active for a staggering 28 days on smooth surfaces such banknotes, glass on mobile phone screens, and stainless steel. By comparison, the Influenza A virus only survives for 17 days on such surfaces.

However, the study found that the virus' survival time decrease as the temperature of the said surfaces increased.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has breached the 20,000 mark, with 20,498 cases, and 187 deaths, recorded as of yesterday afternoon.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 40.2 million, and killed over 1.1 million people.

Source: The Japan Times, Channel News Asia
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