Many people worry: can I get infected with corona if I touch contaminated surfaces? And what is the risk that the virus will enter the body through the eyes? What is the assessment of the experts.Under certain laboratory conditions, the coronavirus can survive for up to 28 days on smooth surfaces such as cell phone displays and ATMs.
At least that’s what the Australian science authority Csiro writes in the journal ‘Virology Journal’.
The experiment was carried out in the dark, as studies have shown that direct sunlight can kill the virus quickly.
The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) states that he is not aware of any corona infections via surfaces such as card terminals and smartphones.
“At 20 degrees Celsius, around room temperature, we found the virus to be extremely robust and survive for 28 days on smooth surfaces like glass on cell phone screens and plastic banknotes,” said Debbie Eagles, deputy director of the Australian Center for Disease Prevention. who carried out the research.
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.
Smear infections via surfaces cannot be excluded
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), however, there have so far been no cases in which it has been proven that this Coronavirus transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces and infection occurred.
However, according to the information, smear infections cannot be ruled out via surfaces that have recently been contaminated with viruses.
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According to the Australian study, the virus survived longer on smooth surfaces like glass, stainless steel and vinyl compared to composite, pore-rich surfaces like cotton. An important finding is the life span of the virus on glass.
Because ATMs, self-service checkouts in supermarkets and check-in machines at airports have surfaces that are frequently touched and may not be cleaned regularly.
Therefore, the rule continues to apply: Wash your hands frequently and clean surfaces.
Low risk of corona infection over the eyes
Corona infection through the eyes is unlikely, according to medical information, but not impossible.
For example, if you rub your eyes with corona-contaminated hands, “a transfer to the nasal mucous membrane or the airways would be conceivable,” said Clemens Lange from the Freiburg University Medical Center at the annual congress of German Ophthalmological Society (DOG).
There are connections in the head between the eyes and the nose, such as tear ducts. At present Study situation “However, there is nothing to indicate that we have to regard the eyes as an important gateway for the virus to enter or exit,” Lange stated.
At the DOG Congress from October 9th to 11th, the participants discussed various aspects of eye medicine online this year.
According to Lange, some studies postulate that infection via the conjunctiva is possible. However, it is not yet clear whether the cells of the surface of the eye have enough entry ports.
In none of the samples from 46 people examined, relevant amounts of the receptors ACE-2 or TMPRSS2, which are important for corona, were found in the conjunctiva, said Lange, who was involved in this study.
Other researchers had found evidence of these receptors in the cornea, but had not tested actual corona transmission via them.
Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft (2020): Transmission of COVID-19 aerosols significantly more infectious than tear fluid or conjunctiva, accessed on October 12, 2020: https://www.dog.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/PM-DOG- 2020-online_Corona_und_Eye_October_F.pdf
Schnichels, S. et al. (2020): Can SARS-CoV-2 infect the eye? – An overview of the receptor status in ocular tissue, accessed on October 12, 2020: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00347-020-01160-z
Ridell, S. et al. (2020): The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces, abgerufen am 12.10.2020:, https://virologyj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7