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'Coronavirus can live on surfaces for nine days' © iStock

14 February 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


Coronavirus can remain active on surfaces for up to nine days, according to a study published in an academic journal.


But the report in the Journal of Hospital Infection indicates that using a solution containing 62 per cent to 72 per cent ethanol, 0.5 per cent hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1 per cent sodium hypochlorite will kill the virus within one minute of contact time. 


In contrast, scientists found that solutions of 0.04 per cent benzalkonium chloride, 0.06 per cent sodium hypochlorite and 0.55 per cent ortho-phtalaldehyde were less effective.


To determine the correct cleaning chemical formula, investigators with University Medicine Greifswald and Ruhr University Bochum in Germany looked at 22 studies that dealt with disinfection techniques for human coronavirus such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV). 


The researchers examined studies that provided original data on coronaviruses, including their staying power on surfaces and materials, and how biocidal disinfecting agents could render them inactive.


Investigators stressed that using the proper solution is only one part of the equation –cleaning and disinfection procedures must be followed consistently and correctly to be effective.


Regarding the new name for the coronavirus (officially named COVID-19), which was announced last Tuesday, World Health Organization officials said they were careful to choose a name that was "easy to pronounce and did not inspire stigma, as it did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, or a group of people".


The study can be found here.