The unwavering spread of COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. Preventive measures like social distancing and mask usage have been taken all around the globe but still, as of September 2020, the number of cases continues to rise in many countries. Evidently, these measures are insufficient. Although decreases in population density and surges in the public’s usage of personal protective equipment can mitigate direct transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), indirect transmission of the virus is still probable. By summarizing the current state of knowledge on the stability of coronaviruses on dry materials, this review uncovers the high potential for SARS-CoV-2 transmission through contaminated surfaces (i.e., fomites) and prompts future research. Fully contextualized data on coronavirus persistence are presented. The methods and limitations to testing the stability of coronaviruses are explored, and the SARS-CoV-2 representativeness of different coronaviruses is analyzed. The factors which dictate the persistence of coronaviruses on surfaces (media, environmental conditions, and material-type) are investigated, and the review is concluded by encouraging material innovation to combat the current pandemic. To summarize, SARS-CoV-2 remains viable on the timescale of days on hard surfaces under ambient indoor conditions. Similarly, the virus is stable on human skin, signifying the necessity of hand hygiene amidst the current pandemic. There is an inverse relationship between SARS-CoV-2 surface persistence and temperature/humidity, and the virus is well suited to air-conditioned environments (room temperature, ~ 40% relative humidity). Sunlight may rapidly inactivate the virus, suggesting that indirect transmission predominantly occurs indoors. The development of antiviral materials and surface coatings would be an extremely effective method to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. To obtain applicable data on the persistence of coronaviruses and the efficiency of virucidal materials, future researchers should understand the common experimental limitations outlined in this review and plan their studies accordingly.
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