A new pre-print study found that Omicron survived on skin for 21.1 hours and on plastic surfaces for 193.5 hours

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The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant can survive on plastic and skin for longer than previous variants, according to a pre-print study published on bioRxiv.

The study analysed differences in viral environmental stability between the Wuhan strain (wild type) and all variants of concern.

On plastic and skin surfaces, Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants exhibited more than two-fold longer survival than the wild strain and maintained infectivity for more than 16 hours on skin surfaces.

In the plastic surface analysis, survival times of the wild strain, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron variants were 56.0, 191.3, 156.6, 59.3, 114.0, and 193.5 hours, respectively.

In human skin surface analysis, survival times were 8.6, 19.6, 19.1, 11.0, 16.8, and 21.1 hours, respectively.

The data show that Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants appear to have significantly longer survival times than the Wuhan strain, and the Omicron variant has the longest survival time. The half-life showed the same tendency.

On skin, all of the variants were completely inactivated within 15 seconds of exposure to alcohol-based hand sanitisers. Therefore, the researchers conclude, it is highly recommended that current hand hygiene practices use disinfectants, as proposed by the World Health Organization.

Disclaimer: As an exception during this period of health crisis, some of the publications mentioned are at the time of writing still in pre-publication, undergoing peer review, and subject to change. The results of this pre-print study should be interpreted with utmost caution.

This article was originally published on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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