14:38 GMT25 November 2020
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    A recent study by Japanese researchers reveals that the COVID-19 coronavirus can remain active on human skin for nine hours, a revelation that highlights the need for frequent hand-washing during the pandemic.

    The study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, also compared how long SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, remains on human skin surfaces compared to influenza A virus (IAV), which causes the seasonal flu. 

    According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, strains of IAV are the “only influenza viruses known to cause flu pandemics.”

    The researchers found that in comparison, the pathogen that causes the flu lives on human skin for only 1.8 hours.

    "The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic," the study noted.

    “The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk,” the study added.

    The researchers also found that both SARS-CoV-2 and IAV on human skin were completely inactivated in 15 seconds by using ethanol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain at least 60% ethanol.

    According to the World Health Organization, to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 on your hands, “regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.”

    The latest data by Worldometer reveals that there have been more than 40 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 1.1 million deaths as a result.

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