terça-feira, março 17, 2020

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Currently, the emergence of a novel human coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has become a global health concern causing severe respiratory tract infections in humans. Human-to-human transmissions have been described with incubation times between 2-10 days, facilitating its spread via droplets, contaminated hands or surfaces. We therefore reviewed the literature on all available information about the persistence of human and veterinary coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces as well as inactivation strategies with biocidal agents used for chemical disinfection, e.g. in healthcare facilities. The analysis of 22 studies reveals that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days, but can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62–71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite within 1 minute. Other biocidal agents such as 0.05–0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate are less effective. As no specific therapies are available for SARS-CoV-2, early containment and prevention of further spread will be crucial to stop the ongoing outbreak and to control this novel infectious thread.


Human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces at room temperature for up to 9 days. At a temperature of 30°C or more the duration of persistence is shorter. Veterinary coronaviruses have been shown to persist even longer for 28 d. Contamination of frequent touch surfaces in healthcare settings are therefore a potential source of viral transmission. Data on the transmissibility of coronaviruses from contaminated surfaces to hands were not found. However, it could be shown with influenza A virus that a contact of 5 s can transfer 31.6% of the viral load to the hands [9]. The transfer efficiency was lower (1.5%) with parainfluenza virus 3 and a 5 s contact between the surface and the hands [10]. In an observational study, it was described that students touch their face with their own hands on average 23 times per h, with contact mostly to the skin (56%), followed by mouth (36%), nose (31%) and eyes (31%) [11]. Although the viral load of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces is not known during an outbreak situation it seem plausible to reduce the viral load on surfaces by disinfection, especially of frequently touched surfaces in the immediate patient surrounding where the highest viral load can be expected. The WHO recommends “to ensure that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are followed consistently and correctly. Thoroughly cleaning environmental surfaces with water and detergent and applying commonly used hospital-level disinfectants (such as sodium hypochlorite) are effective and sufficient procedures.” [12] The typical use of bleach is at a dilution of 1:100 of 5% sodium hypochlorite resulting in a final concentration of 0.05% [13]. Our summarized data with coronaviruses suggest that a concentration of 0.1% is effective in 1 min (Table III). That is why it seems appropriate to recommend a dilution 1:50 of standard bleach in the coronavirus setting. For the disinfection of small surfaces ethanol (62–71%; carrier tests) revealed a similar efficacy against coronavirus. A concentration of 70% ethanol is also recommended by the WHO for disinfecting small surfaces [13].

No data were found to describe the frequency of hands becoming contaminated with coronavirus, or the viral load on hands either, after patient contact or after touching contaminated surfaces. The WHO recommends to preferably apply alcohol-based hand rubs for the decontamination of hands, e.g. after removing gloves. Two WHO recommended formulations (based on 80% ethanol or 75% 2-propanol) have been evaluated in suspension tests against SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and both were described to be very effective [14]. No in vitro data were found on the efficacy of hand washing against coronavirus contaminations on hands. In Taiwan, however, it was described that installing hand wash stations in the emergency department was the only infection control measure which was significantly associated with the protection from healthcare workers from acquiring the SARS-CoV, indicating that hand hygiene can have a protective effect [15]. Compliance with hand hygiene can be significantly higher in an outbreak situation but is likely to remain an obstacle especially among physicians [16, 17, 18]. Transmission in healthcare settings can be successfully prevented when appropriate measures are consistently performed [19,20].

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