The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, whereas the pathogen that causes the flu survives on the skin for about 1.8 hours by comparison.

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"The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic," it said.

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"According to the group, when the new coronavirus and influenza A were applied to the surface of skin, the new coronavirus lasted for around nine hours on it, while the flu strain remained for about 1.8 hours," The Mainichi (Japan Daily News) wrote.

The research team tested skin collected from autopsy specimens, about one day after death.

The team also found that both the coronavirus and the flu virus are inactivated within 15 seconds by applying ethanol (at an 80% concentration), which is used in hand sanitizers.

"The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk," the study said.

COVID-19 worldwide

  • As many as 40,186,016 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases had been reported as of 19:24 on October 19, according to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
  • The overall death toll is 1,115,521 people, while 27,544,407 coronavirus patients have already recovered.