Transmission of the coronavirus via infectious smears cannot be excluded. Regular hand hygiene is therefore important. (Image: taka / stock.adobe.com)
Corona: risk of infection by smear?
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted from person to person. The main route of transmission is droplet infection. However, smear transmission through the hands, which come into contact with the oral or nasal mucosa and the conjunctiva, cannot be excluded in principle, according to experts.
Many people worry: can i get infected with corona if i touch contaminated surfaces? And what is the risk of the virus entering the body through the eyes? What assessment do the experts come to?
The virus can survive on surfaces for up to 28 days
Under certain laboratory conditions, the coronavirus can survive for up to 28 days on smooth surfaces such as cell phone screens and ATMs. At least, that’s what Australian scientific authority Csiro writes in the “Virology Journal”. The experiment was conducted in the dark, as studies have shown that direct sunlight can kill the virus quickly. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) says it is not aware of any corona infection via surfaces such as card terminals and smartphones.
“At 20 degrees Celsius, around room temperature, we found the virus to be extremely hardy and survived for 28 days on smooth surfaces such as glass on cellphone screens and plastic tickets,” said Debbie Eagles, Deputy Director of the Australian Center for Disease Prevention. who carried out the research, in a communication. In previous studies, the coronavirus could only be detected on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to three days. Similar experiments for influenza A would have shown that this virus survived on surfaces for 17 days.
Surface smear infections
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), however, so far there has been no case in which it has been proven that the coronavirus has been transmitted to people through contact with objects and contaminated surfaces and infections have occurred. However, according to reports, smear infections cannot be ruled out via surfaces that have been recently contaminated with viruses.
According to the Australian study, the virus survived longer on smooth surfaces like glass, stainless steel, and vinyl compared to pore-rich composite surfaces like cotton. An important finding is the lifespan of the virus on glass. Because ATMs, self-service checkouts in supermarkets, and airport check-in kiosks have surfaces that are touched frequently and may not be cleaned regularly. Therefore, the rule continues to apply: wash your hands frequently and clean surfaces.
Low risk of corona infection on the eyes
Corona infection through the eyes is unlikely, but not impossible, according to healthcare professionals. For example, if you rub your eyes with hands contaminated with the crown, transmission to the nasal mucosa or to the respiratory tract would be possible, said Clemens Lange of the University Medical Center Freiburg at the annual congress of the German Society of ophthalmology (DOG). There are connections in the head between the eyes and the nose, like the tear ducts. With the current state of studies, “however, there is no indication that we should view the eyes as a major entry or exit port for the virus,” Lange said.
According to Lange, some studies postulate that infection with the conjunctiva is possible. However, it is not yet clear whether the cells on the surface of the eye have enough entry ports. In none of the samples from 46 people examined were relevant amounts of the ACE-2 or TMPRSS2 receptors, which are important for the crown, found in the conjunctiva, said Lange, who was involved in the study. Other researchers had found evidence for the presence of these receptors in the cornea, but had not tested actual corona transmission through them. (announcement; source: dpa)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and ongoing studies and has been verified by healthcare professionals.
Shane Riddell, Sarah Goldie, Andrew Hill, Debbie Eagles, Trevor W. Drew: The effect of temperature on the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces; in: Virology Journal, (published: October 7, 2020), Virology Journal Federal Institute for Risk Assessment: Can the novel coronavirus be transmitted via food and objects ?, (Access: October 12, 2020), Federal Institute for Risk Assessment Csiro: CSIRO Scientists Publish New Research on SARS- COV-2 virus “ survivability ”, (accessed October 12, 2020), CsiroDeutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft: Transmission of COVID-19 aerosols is significantly more infectious than tear fluid or conjunctiva, (accessed October 12, 2020), Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft Sven Schnichels, Jens Roft Sven Schnichels Tarek Bayyoud, Sebastian Thaler, Focke Ziemssen and José Hurst: Can SARS-CoV-2 infect the eye? – An overview of the state of receptors in eye tissue; in: Der Ophthalmologe, (published: 24.06.2020), Der Ophthalmologe
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.