Survival of SARS-CoV-2 outside the body and methods of disinfection

Coloured scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 infected human bronchial epithelial cells

An overview of various methods to limit the spread of infection by destroying SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces

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The current lack of effective antiviral therapies to oppose this virus and lack of an effective vaccine has meant that public heath measured have focused on limiting the spread of infection. Destruction of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces where contact could lead to the spread of infection is therefore important. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a large virus with a complex structure and is an enveloped virus. Various widely used and widely available household disinfectants are very likely to destroy the SARS-CoV-2 virus, largely based on previous experience of other corona viruses. Handwashing with soap, detergent and/or ethanol is important and dilute bleach can be used in other circumstances, i.e. on inanimate surfaces, such as plastic and metal. Hydrogen peroxide is also effective. Ultraviolet light has been used for sterilizing equipment such as respirators. Thermal disinfection can also be effective depending on the temperature and duration of exposure.

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