New American research shows that the coronavirus can survive for several days on certain surfaces under ideal conditions.

For example, on stainless steel and plastic, the virus can survive for up to 72 hours, reports NOS.

The research was done by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and it measured, in a laboratory setting, how long can the virus survive on different surfaces, such as copper, stainless steel, cardboard, plastic, as well as in its airborne form. By survival, the scientists mean if the virus can continue to multiply cells.

Eric Van Gorp, virologist at the Erasmus Medical Centre, states that the research confirms what is already known, namely that the virus can spread through direct contact. This information is also on the RIVM website, which confirms that the virus can survive for hours or up to days, depending on the different circumstances and surfaces it is on.

Main infection route is airborne

Van Gorp states that despite its survival on certain surfaces, the virus is nevertheless spread the most through the air. He recommends sneezing in the elbow, social distancing and of course, washing your hands.

Outside of a laboratory setting, it is not known for certain how long does the virus survive on surfaces such as shopping carts, light switches or door handles. Van Gorp says that there are certain factors in play, such as higher temperature, low humidity and wind that can decrease the life-span of the virus.

It’s unknown, however, based on the American research, just how much the virus survives outside of the body compared to the flu or the common cold, as the research focused strictly on a comparison with the SARS virus.

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