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Fotheringay-Phipps 02-13-2020 02:19 PM

How long can a virus survive outside of a host?
The other night a guy I know suggested that you need to be careful about puncturing bubble-wrap that came from China, since it might have air contaminated with Coronavirus. I think the guy was kidding or at least partially so, but in any event I myself think even in the highly unlikely event that an infected person was on hand when the bubble-wrap was produced and there was virus in that air, there's no way the virus would survive without a host long enough to infect you in America.

But I got to wondering. How long could a virus survive without a host? Suppose a person who had a virus breathed/sneezed/whatever on some inanimate surface, how long after that point could another person get infected from contact with that surface?

DCnDC 02-13-2020 02:29 PM

Depends on the virus.

It can be minutes, it could be months. Given the right circumstances, flu viruses can remain active up to 24 hours. Rhinovirus could survive on an indoor surface for several days. Norovirus or hepatitis A can survive, in certain conditions, for weeks. C. difficile can survive 5 months. All of these mainly on hard, non-porous surfaces. How they would fare in a bubble-wrap bubble, my WAG is probably significantly less time.

Darren Garrison 02-13-2020 02:40 PM


Originally Posted by DCnDC (Post 22137225)
C. difficile

Not a virus.

Fotheringay-Phipps 02-18-2020 07:48 AM

Coronaviruses: How long can they survive on surfaces?

The authors show that, depending on the material and the conditions, human coronaviruses can remain infectious from 2 hours to 9 days.

At temperatures of around 4C or 39.2oF, certain versions of the coronavirus could remain viable for up to 28 days. At temperatures of 30–40C (86–104F), coronaviruses tended to persist for a shorter time.

At room temperature, a coronavirus responsible for the common cold (HCoV-229E) persisted significantly longer in 50% humidity than 30% humidity. Overall, the authors conclude:

“Human coronaviruses can remain infectious on inanimate surfaces at room temperature for up to 9 days. At a temperature of 30C [86F] or more, the duration of persistence is shorter. Veterinary coronaviruses have been shown to persist even longer for 28 d[ays].”

When the scientists delved into the literature on the persistence of coronaviruses on different surfaces, the results were variable. For instance, the MERS virus persisted for 48 hours on a steel surface at 20C (68F). However, on a similar surface and at the same temperature, TGEV survived for up to 28 days.

Similarly, two studies investigated the survival of two strains of SARS coronavirus on a paper surface. One survived 4–5 days, the other for just 3 hours.

Der Trihs 02-18-2020 08:14 PM

Thousands of years, potentially.


For the past 15,000 years, a glacier on the northwestern Tibetan Plateau of China has hosted a party for some unusual guests: an ensemble of frozen viruses, many of them unknown to modern science.

Scientists recently broke up this party after taking a look at two ice cores from this Tibetan glacier, revealing the existence of 28 never-before-seen virus groups.
It depends on the type of virus, and the conditions. "Coronavirus in bubble wrap" and "unusually hardy virus frozen in a glacier" are going to have very different lifespans.

purplehorseshoe 02-18-2020 11:24 PM

Does a virus need fresh air to "breathe" in any way? Would being trapped inside the plastic of a bubble wrap suffocate it?

puzzlegal 02-18-2020 11:32 PM

A virus is just a bit of DNA (or RNA) with a protein shell. It doesn't really live outside its host, so it doesn't need air. On the other hand, they tend not to be very stable or study, either. Some bacteria can sporulate and survive long periods in soil or other environments. Viruses generally can't, and usually die fairly quickly in air and on surfaces.

Squink 02-19-2020 09:46 AM

Corona virus Cov-19 can remain infective for as long as nine days on a metal, glass or similar hard surface. According to article:

human coronaviruses "can be efficiently inactivated by surface disinfection procedures with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite" or bleach within one minute.

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