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Science

How long does SARS-CoV-2 survive in the environment?

In a new report on the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators tested how long the SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, lasts in the air and on surfaces:

Viable in aerosols or mixed in air for 3 hours

Viable and detectable on the following surfaces:

Stainless steel and plastic – up to 72 hours

Cardboard – 24 hours

Copper – 4 hours

So frequent hand washing is still a very effective preventive measure as well as cleaning surfaces. Especially our mobile phones, tablets & keyboards.

You can read the full report here.

Stay safe and as much as possible, stay indoors.

Categories
Science

How hand washing with soap & water kills the SARS-CoV-2

The inevitable has happened, there are now 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines and as I write this, the World Health Organization is on the brink of calling the outbreak a pandemic.

You may have doubts or misgivings about our own Department of Health, but they are still the best source of information about COVID-19 cases in the Philippines. Sharing unverified information via social media only helps to fuel panic and paranoia which could worsen the outbreak for all of us.

With the virus spreading locally, it’s important that we do our share to help contain or minimize its spread. You’ve often heard from medical professionals, government officials, your HR folk, the World Health Organization and media that one of the most effective ways to fight the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 is by frequent hand washing with soap and water. How so? It’s all rooted in the morphology or physical characteristics of the coronavirus. See the illustration below:

Coronavirus is a type of “enveloped” virus which means its core genetic material is surrounded by a membrane. That membrane, encircled in the image above, is called a lipid bilayer or two layers of phospholipids.

By Bensaccount – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Lipid_bilayer_section.gif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2929946

Lipid is a molecule that is like fat. Since soaps dissolve fat, washing your hands with soap and water for a sufficient amount of time, experts say singing “Happy birthday” twice does the trick, dissolves that lipid bilayer envelope of the coronavirus which in turn destroys the virus itself. This simple practice is very effective against germs, that’s why you often see surgeons spending a great deal of time thoroughly scrubbing their hands with soap and water before and after a surgery as shown in popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy or The Good Doctor.

So let’s do our part, frequently wash our hands with soap and water to keep it clean and fight off nasty germs like the coronavirus. Remember, before and after eating, wash your hands. After using the toiltet, wash your hands. Just got home from work or outside, wash your hands before touching anything else or your loved ones.

It cannot be overstated: wash your hands with soap and water.