COVID: Increased Survival on Surfaces

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April 2022

Checking out at a grocery store, pumping gas, using your phone, and putting on a mask are things we do almost every day that involve touching various materials such as plastics, metals, fabrics, and glass.

These materials all have the potential to harbor and spread bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened concerns that everyday surfaces may be vectors for disease-causing microorganisms. SARS-CoV-2 spreads primarily via aerosols, and by direct or surface contact to a lesser degree. Spread by skin and surface contact was limited early in the outbreak by the relatively rapid die-off of SARS-CoV-2. However, current research suggests several variants of concern, including the Delta and Omicron strains survive significantly longer on surfaces. The study shows the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, commonly called the Wuhan Strain, can survive on most surfaces for approximately 2 days whereas the Delta variant can survive on surfaces for almost 5 days and the Omicron variant, the most durable of them all, can survive on surfaces for up to 8 days.

Countless products have been developed recently to help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. Such products include new disinfectants, face masks, air filters, UV lights, and various surfaces that incorporate antimicrobial components.

Antimicrobial-treated surface testing is done by Microchem’s Medical Device Efficacy Team and Virology Team, which use specialized and customized versions of methods such as the ISO 22196 and the JIS Z 2801 to measure the antimicrobial potential of non-porous surfaces. Fabrics and other absorbent materials are tested using methods like AATCC 100JIS L 1902 and ASTM E2149.

Efficacy claims for antimicrobial surfaces are tightly controlled by Federal and state regulations, so before proceeding beyond efficacy screening and before making kill claims for surfaces, be sure do discuss regulations with Microchem staff or its broad network of antimicrobial regulatory consultants. If you are an antimicrobial regulatory consultant and are interested in being added to our list, please contact us.

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COVID: Increased Survival on Surfaces

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