Sunlight destroys coronavirus rapidly – U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Thu, 23 April 2020 – Staff Writer
Increased temperature, humidity and sunlight are detrimental to the survival of COVID-19 on surfaces and in the air, according to a study by the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) in Frederick Maryland.
The results of the study were presented during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Thursday by William Bryan, Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the United States Department of Homeland Security.
The NBACC is the principal biodefense research institution engaged in laboratory-based threat assessment and bioforensics in the United States. The study is entitled “S&T's Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDTE) Efforts on COVID-19”.
According to Bryan, the virus survives best in droplets of saliva in indoors and dry conditions. During his presentation Bryan suggested that a lot of the testing being conducted was not being done with the COVID-19 virus, or in saliva or respiratory fluids.
During his presentation Bryan highlighted that according to the research the virus died most rapidly in the presence of direct sunlight.
Referring to the slide presentation during the briefing, he noted that the half life of the virus in the air in a room between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius and 20 percent humidity was 60 minutes, whereas the half life outside in direct sunlight at the same temperature and humidity was reduced to only a minute and half.
Speaking about practical applications based on the research, he suggested that increasing the temperature and humidity of potentially contaminated indoor spaces appeared to reduce the stability of the virus.
The research also looked at the effect of common household disinfectants such as bleach and isopropyl alcohol on the virus in saliva. The findings indicated that bleach would kill the virus in 5 minutes and isopropyl alcohol in 30 seconds, even without rubbing, and with rubbing it would die more quickly.
Bryan concluded his presentation by noting that the information should be considered another tool in the fight against the coronavirus. “We believe these trends can support practical decision-making to lower the risks associated with the virus”, said Bryan.
Following Bryan’s presentation, U.S. President Donald Trump noted that possible further testing of ultraviolet light on the virus within the human body was something that would be looked at.
Bryan also responded to a question from the president by suggesting that it in theory the impact of ultraviolet light would be greater on non-porous surfaces such as skin, since the stainless steel surfaces used for tests in the study were the worst case scenario.
The study by the high-level government biosafety lab has yet to be published, but a leaked version of the results can be found online.
The following pages form part of the leaked document from the study.
Note: All information in this story is based on the actual transcript of a White House press briefing. It is an accurate account of the press briefing. The video of the press briefing is available at the top of this story.
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