Latvian scientists study coronavirus durability on surfaces

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Door handles, TV remotes and water taps may be home to coronavirus long after the patient has recovered. To study the lifespan of the virus, National Scientific Institute BIOR is sampling surfaces in the homes of people who have been infected with COVID-19.

Sampling is simple: One must first wear gloves and then rub the surface intensively for 15 seconds. The sample must be taken from six places.

“A week after they've recovered, we'll take the sample again. Denmark and several countries have been investigating that several weeks after patients have recovered, particles of the virus can still be found in their homes. And the aim is to understand whether the particles are many, on which surfaces and whether a person can be re-infected,” explained Olga Valciņa, Deputy Director of BIOR Laboratories, to Latvian Television.

The results of the studies differ, but some show that the virus remains on surfaces for up to ten days and longer. “For example, on smooth metallic surfaces it persists longer. Those that are wet. From a few to tens of days,” Valcina said.

“I haven't seen direct studies yet that someone would have gotten sick just because he hasn't rubbed the door handles three times. No need to go into paranoia. But there are things we can do. Even just cleaning the house with soap.

But it's good to remember about the surfaces we're most in contact with. These are handles, they are switches, toilet flush, and  taps,”  the BIOR spokeswoman said.

The results of the surface study are expected in the coming weeks.

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