Modeling the stability of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on skin, currency, and clothing.PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 11; 14(11):e0008831.PN
A new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in the winter of 2019 in Wuhan, China, and rapidly spread around the world. The extent and efficiency of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is far greater than previous coronaviruses that emerged in the 21st Century. Here, we modeled stability of SARS-CoV-2 on skin, paper currency, and clothing to determine if these surfaces may factor in the fomite transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2. Skin, currency, and clothing samples were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 under laboratory conditions and incubated at three different temperatures (4°C± 2°C, 22°C± 2°C, and 37°C ± 2°C). We evaluated stability at 0 hours (h), 4 h, 8 h, 24 h, 72 h, 96 h, 7 days, and 14 days post-exposure. SARS-CoV-2 was stable on skin through the duration of the experiment at 4°C (14 days). Virus remained stable on skin for at least 96 h at 22°C and for at least 8h at 37°C. There were minimal differences between the tested currency samples. The virus remained stable on the $1 U.S.A. Bank Note for at least 96 h at 4°C while we did not detect viable virus on the $20 U.S.A. Bank Note samples beyond 72 h. The virus remained stable on both Bank Notes for at least 8 h at 22°C and 4 h at 37°C. Clothing samples were similar in stability to the currency. Viable virus remained for at least 96 h at 4°C and at least 4 h at 22°C. We did not detect viable virus on clothing samples at 37°C after initial exposure. This study confirms the inverse relationship between virus stability and temperature. Furthermore, virus stability on skin demonstrates the need for continued hand hygiene practices to minimize fomite transmission both in the general population as well as in workplaces where close contact is common.