LONDON: The novel coronavirus which has led to the death of over 700 people in China may stay infectious for up to nine days, researchers have warned.
On average, they survive between four and five days, consistent with the study published within the Journal of Hospital Infection.
"Low temperature and high air humidity further increase their lifespan," explained Professor Gunter Kampf from the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine at the Greifswald University Hospital in Germany.
Together with Professor Eike Steinmann, Head of the Department for Molecular and Medical Virology at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum (RUB) in Germany, Kampf has compiled findings from 22 studies on coronaviruses and their inactivation for a future textbook.
The evaluated studies specialise in the pathogens Sars coronavirus and Mers coronavirus. But the researchers said that the findings should be transferable to the novel coronavirus.
"Different coronaviruses were analysed, and therefore the results were all similar," Steinmann said.
"Under the circumstances, the simplest approach was to publish these verified scientific facts beforehand , so as to form all information available at a look ," Steinmann added.
Since there's no specific therapy against the novel coronavirus, the prevention of infection is of particular importance so as to stem the epidemic.
Like all droplet infections, the virus can spread via hands and surfaces that are frequently touched.
"In hospitals, these are often door handles, for instance , but also call buttons, bedside tables, bed frames and other objects within the direct vicinity of patients, which are often made from metal or plastic," Kampf said.
Tests with various disinfection solutions showed that agents supported ethanol, peroxide or hypochlorite are effective against coronaviruses.
If these agents are applied in appropriate concentrations, they reduce the amount of infectious coronaviruses by four so-called log steps within one minute: this suggests , for instance , from a million to only 100 pathogenic particles.
If preparations supported other active ingredients are used, the merchandise should be proven to be a minimum of effective against enveloped viruses, said the study.