Aerosol Spread and Surface Contamination: Experimental Results

Emerging results from the United States in a letter to the Editor of the the New England Journal of Medicine, published 17 March 2020

Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

by Neeltje van Doremalen et al.

Comparison of COVID-19 and SARS surface stability. Viability of viruses were investigated through experimental study of aerosol and surface application to copper, cardboard, stainless steel, and plastic maintained at 21 to 23°C and 40% relative humidity over 7 days.

Summary points:

  • Stability of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was similar to that of SARS-CoV-1 (SARS) under the experimental circumstances

  • Epidemiologic differences between COVID-19 and SARS may be related to differences in viral load, shedding and asymptomatic transmission

  • COVID-19 can remain viable in aerosol for hours and on surfaces up to days (depending on the inoculum shed)

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