Breaking COVID transmission with biocide

Adrian Gee-Turner discusses the survival of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces, the risk of transmission, and the efficacy of hypochlorous acid in killing the virus.

As the pandemic progressed, our understanding of the virus that causes COVID-19 grew, and this has influenced the guidance on transmission prevention measures such as face masks, social distancing, hand washing and disinfection. While a few grey areas persist, such as the degree of challenge presented by aerosolised virus, a number of conclusions are emerging. 

Fomite transmission: Fomite transmission (from objects and surfaces) is highly likely given the extended periods (days) that SARS-CoV-2 is able to remain viable on a variety of surfaces, including glass and plastic. This is important because people generally touch mobile phones and keyboards many times per day – so, as well as hand washing, touch points will need frequent disinfection with an antiviral disinfectant (caution: some ‘antibacs’ are not antiviral).

Temperature: It appears that the viability of SARS-CoV-2 is significantly reduced by sunlight or high temperatures. This conclusion would appear to be borne out by the outbreaks that have occurred in chilled food packing facilities.

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