Humidity and temperature affect the infectious capacity of Sars-CoV-2

Hyperaxion Jun 20, 2020

Research shows that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 may be more unstable depending on environmental conditions.

The fight against Covid-19 does not only involve the search for a vaccine or a treatment against the disease caused by the new coronavirus: Sars-CoV-2 itself is also surrounded by uncertainties for specialists worldwide, who are still trying to understand how the virus behaves within our body. Little by little, new findings bring more information – our best weapon against the virus.

Humidity and temperature affect the infectious capacity of Sars-CoV-2
(Credit: CDC / Unsplash).

To help increase our understanding of the infectious capacity of Sars-CoV-2, researchers at Marshall University in the United States published a study in early June, led by scientist M. Jeremiah Matson, in the scientific journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that observed that certain environmental conditions affect the stability of the new coronavirus in the human respiratory tract.

To conduct the investigation, Matson and his team applied Sars-CoV-2 to nasal mucus samples. For seven days, the mixture was exposed to three different temperature and humidity conditions. After that period, the scientists analyzed whether the infection was still active and whether viral RNA was present, which alone is not infectious.

The results show that the virus remained active longer when the humidity was low and the temperature was colder; in a scenario with a humid and hot climate, on the other hand, the infectious activity was undetectable within 48 hours. In all analyzed scenarios, viral RNA was detected over the seven days.

This does not mean, of course, that the new coronavirus poses no danger in places with these characteristics. For Matson, the study contributes to increase our knowledge about Covid-19 and other similar diseases. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a sobering reminder that infectious diseases continue to be a major public health threat and require sustained research commitment,” said the scientist, in a statement.

Related topics:

Coronavirus Covid-19


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