Study: COVID-19 Can Survive in the Air up to 16 Hours

Kenny Kuhn
July 07, 2020 - 2:11 pm

A new study by Tulane University researchers suggests COVID-19 can stay infectious in the air for up to 16 hours.

According to Tulane University, the study published in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, found that SARS-Co-2 can survive in the air much longer than similar coronavirus diseases like SARS and MERS.

Researchers tested the theory by spraying aerosol droplets in a slow-churning air chamber then monitored for changes in the virus over a 16-hour period. They found the virus remained stable and potent in the air.

Scientist knew the virus can remain alive in aerosol droplets such as sneezing or coughing, but the new study finds the virus can survive the same in smaller droplets such as those released when a person speaks or breathes.

“We saw very little deterioration in the infectiousness of these aersols after 16 hours,” said Dr. Chad Roy, lead investigator and Director of Infectious Disease Aerobiology at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana.

“This is notable because we would expect it to behave similar to other coronaviruses that begin to decay over this amount of time – and, it didn’t.”
Researchers point out the lab-controlled testing does not factor in variables such as ultra-violet light or wind.

“This is just one more piece of the puzzle in understanding how people are getting sick and how we can best protect ourselves and each other. If anything, this research should serve as a warning light that this virus is more resilient than similar viruses, and that public health measures should be heeded,” said Dr. Roy.