Persistence of coronavirus on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents

Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, Steinmann E. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. J Hosp Infect. 2020;104(3):246–251. doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.022

Review written by:

Dylan Rust, edited by Eunice Lee

Yellow - Literature review of 22 studies regarding the ability of various coronaviruses to persist on dry surfaces, as well as their susceptibility to common biocidal agents. Review does not include data specifically on SARS-CoV-2

While transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via contact with contaminated dry surfaces has been postulated, the persistence of the virus on inanimate surfaces remains poorly understood. Kampf et al. provide a review compiling available data on the persistence of other human and veterinary coronaviruses  (including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV) on dry surfaces, in hopes that this data can be extrapolated to SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV was found to remain infectious on different surfaces (wood, metal, plastic, etc.) for 2hrs up to 9 days, with most surfaces falling between 4-5 days. The persistence of SARS-CoV was also longer with higher viral inocula. At room temperature, HCoV-229E persists better at 50% compared to 30% relative humidity.

The authors also reviewed the literature on the effects of biocidal agents in virus inactivation. In suspension tests, ethanol (78-95%), 2-propanol (70-100%), the combination of 45% 2-propanol with 30% 1-propanol, glutardialdehyde (0.5-2.5%), formaldehyde (0.7-1%) and povidone iodine (0.23-7.5%) readily inactivated coronavirus infectivity (by more than 4log10). Sodium hypochlorite required a minimal concentration of at least 0.21% to be effective. Hydrogen peroxide was effective with a concentration of 0.5% and an incubation time of 1 min. 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate was basically ineffective.

Inactivation of coronaviruses was also measured by carrier tests, although these results did not include SARS-CoV.Ethanol (62-71%), sodium hypochlorite (0.1-0.5%) and glutaraldehyde (2%) were all effective in reducing viral infectivity by more than 3log10 at 1 min. In contrast, 0.04% benzalkonium chloride, 0.06% sodium hypochlorite and 0.55% ortho-phthalaldehyde were less effective. Based on the available data, the authors recommend using bleach (sodium hypochlorite solutions) at a dilution of 1:50, instead of 1:100 that is typically used for disinfecting purposes.

Review Notes

A significant portion of the data included in this review comes from human coronavirus strains, however it does not include SARS-CoV-2. While they share many similar traits, it is unclear whether persistence on inanimate surfaces and the effectiveness of biocidal agents differs between these strains and SARS-CoV-2.

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