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- Experts already know that Omicron is the most transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant, but a new study has found that it survives longer than any previous variant on plastic surfaces and skin.
- Scientists do not know whether this persistence leads to more infections.
- According to the new study, Omicron lasts on plastic for nearly 200 hours and on skin for about 21 hours.
The two most recent major variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have proven to be more infectious than their predecessors.
Experts increasingly agree that the virus spreads primarily through the air. However, a new study reveals how the evolution of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant may have helped it become dominant.
The Omicron variant survives longer on plastic surfaces and skin than other variants, increasing the likelihood of it spreading through touch.
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“Our study showed that on plastic and skin surfaces, Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants exhibited more than two-fold longer survival times than those of the Wuhan strain and maintained infectivity for more than 16 [hours] on the skin surfaces,” explain the authors. They continue:
“The high environmental stability of these VOCs [variants of concern] could increase the risk of contact transmission and contribute to the spread of VOCs.”
Prof. Lorna Harries of Exeter University in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the research, told Medical News Today, “This looks like an interesting study and carefully carried out.”
The study, which has not yet undergone peer review, appears on the preprint bioRxiv server.
According to the study, when on plastic:
- The original version of SARS-CoV-2 survives for 56 hours.
- The Alpha variant survives for 191.3 hours.
- The Beta variant survives for 156.6 hours.
- The Gamma variant survives for 59.3 hours.
- The Delta variant survives for 114 hours.
- The Omicron variant outlasts the other variants, surviving for 193.5 hours.
Créditos: Comité científico Covid