CHAPTER 13: Survival of SARS-CoV-2 Outside the Body and Methods of Disinfection
Published:27 Apr 2022
B. T. C. Marrs and R. L. Maynard, in The Coronavirus Pandemic and the Future Volume 2, ed. M. D. Waters, A. Dhawan, T. Marrs, D. Anderson, S. Warren, C. L. Hughes, ... C. L. Hughes, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022, pp. 299-312.
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The current lack of effective antiviral therapies to oppose the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and, until recently, the lack of an effective vaccine has meant that public health measures 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 coronaviruses. 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. The World Health Organization has remarked that it is highly unlikely that people can contract coronavirus disease from food or food packaging.