What is on my Radar?
Sterilization of Surfaces
The local bioweapon facility in Hamilton, Montana set out to examine just how long SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 would stay viable on in five environmental conditions- aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard. Originally, it was proposed that the viruses in all their manifestations could remain viable on surfaces for up to 30 days.
SARS-CoV-2 remained viable in aerosols throughout the duration of our experiment (3 hours), with a reduction in infectious titer from 103.5 to 102.7 TCID50 per liter of air. This reduction was similar to that observed with SARS-CoV-1.
SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and the viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces, although the virus titer was greatly reduced after 72 hours on plastic and after 48 hours on stainless steel).
On copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours. On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours.
Both viruses had an exponential decay in virus titer across all experimental conditions, as indicated by a linear decrease per liter of air or milliliter of medium over time.
The half-lives of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 were similar in aerosols, with median estimates of approximately 1.1 to 1.2 hours for SARS-CoV-2 and 0.78 to 2.43 for SARS-CoV-1. The half-lives of the two viruses were also similar to copper.
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. Estimated differences in the half-lives of the two viruses were small except for those on cardboard. Individual replicate data were noticeably “noisier” (i.e., there was more variation in the experiment, resulting in a larger standard error) for cardboard than for other surfaces, so we advise caution in interpreting this result.
We found that the stability of SARS-CoV-2 was similar to that of SARS-CoV-1 under the experimental circumstances tested. This indicates that differences in the epidemiologic characteristics of these viruses probably arise from other factors, including high viral loads in the upper respiratory tract and the potential for persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 to shed and transmit the virus while asymptomatic.
Our 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). These findings echo those with SARS-CoV-1, in which these forms of transmission were associated with the nosocomial spread and super-spreading events, and they provide information for pandemic mitigation efforts.
Given these experiments, we can assume that a preoccupation with continual sterilization of surfaces, unless recontaminated, is a waste of cleaning products and time. When dealing with SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 initial sterilization is recommended. This study did not examine the different ways of transmission such as in biofilm, in mucus, and so forth that may impact viability of virus on various surfaces. If you are self-quarantine with little exposure to superspreaders then cleaning surfaces continually might make one feel good but that is about it. That said these are mutating quickly, depending upon your trusted source and there are many strains. It is always good to be prudent.
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Celeste has worked as a contractor for Homeland Security and FEMA. Her training and activations include the infamous day of 911, flood and earthquake operations, mass casualty exercises, and numerous other operations. Celeste is FEMA certified and has completed the Professional Development Emergency Management Series.
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Celeste grew up in military & governmental home with her father working for the Naval Warfare Center, and later as Assistant Director for Public Lands and Natural Resources, in both Washington State and California.
Celeste also has training and expertise in small agricultural lobbying, Integrative/Functional Medicine, asymmetrical and symmetrical warfare, and Organic Farming.
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