Concerns are mounting about how long the novel coronavirus may survive on surfaces — so much so that China’s central bank has taken measures to deep clean and destroy its cash, which changes hands multiple times a day, in an effort to contain the virus.
It is unknown exactly how long the novel coronavirus can linger on contaminated surfaces and objects with the potential of infecting people, but some researchers are finding clues by studying the elusive behaviors of other coronaviruses.
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials do not know what animal may have caused the current outbreak of novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. But previously, studies have suggested that people were infected with the coronavirus MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, after coming in contact with camels, and scientists have suspected that civet cats were to blame for SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
These human coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS, have been found to persist on inanimate surfaces — including metal, glass or plastic surfaces — for as long as nine days if that surface had not been disinfected, according to research published earlier this month in The Journal of Hospital Infection.
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