Concise Review: SARS-CoV-2 Persistence in the Environment and Its Sensitivity to Biocides

E.B. Brusina 1  and E.A. Chezganova 1
  • 1 Department of Epidemiology, Kemerovo State Medical University, Kemerovo, Russian Federation


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global health threat. This review summarizes comprehensive research findings about the SARS-CoV-2 persistence in inanimate surfaces and opportunities for applying biocides to limit spread of COVID-19. SARS-CoV2 is highly stable at 4°C but sensitive to heat and extremely stable in a wide range of pH values at room temperature. Coronaviruses also well survive in suspension. Desiccation has a more severe effect. SARS-CoV-2 can survive in the air for hours and on surfaces for days. Hospitals are significant epicenters for the human-to-human transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 for healthcare workers. The most contaminated SARS-CoV-2 zones and objects in isolation wards, in intensive care unit specialized for novel coronavirus pneumonia, are under discussion. SARS-CoV2 is sensitive to standard disinfection methods. Studies revealed that 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite inactivated SARS-CoV2 in 1 minute exposition; while 0.05-0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate were less effective. Both ethanol and isopropanol were able to reduce viral titers after 30-seconds exposure. It was found for reusing personal protective equipment vaporized hydrogen peroxide treatment exhibits the best combination of rapid inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 and preservation of N95 respirator integrity under the experimental conditions. Overall, SARS-CoV-2 can be highly stable in a favourable environment, but it is also susceptible to standard disinfection methods. Environmental infection control of the air and especially for surfaces is considered as a mandatory step in addition to limiting person-to-person contact.

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