The novel coronavirus can remain on human skin for nearly nine hours, according to a new study by researchers in Japan.
The study, conducted by Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, found that a strain of the influenza A virus (IAV) comparably stayed on the human skin for nearly two hours, Live Science reported. Both viruses on the skin were quickly inactivated with hand sanitizer, the study found, emphasizing the importance of hand-washing and using sanitizers to slow the coronavirus’s spread.
“This study shows that [the coronavirus] may have a higher risk of contact transmission than IAV because the first is much more stable on human skin than the former,” the study’s authors wrote in the Oct. 3 online version of the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal. “These findings support the hypothesis that proper hand hygiene is important for the prevention of the spread of [the coronavirus].”
The study comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that the coronavirus can spread through aerosols that linger in the air “for minutes to hours” and travel beyond six feet, which has been generally accepted and advised as a safe distance between people.
As of Wednesday, roughly 36 million coronavirus cases and over one million related deaths have been reported worldwide, with the U.S. leading globally with 7.5 million cases and 211,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.