COVID-19 Virus May Remain Infectious Longer During Winter

Houston: Scientists have found that the novel coronavirus may remain infectious longer during the winter as temperature drops.

According to a PTI report, scientists used virus-like particles to study how various environmental factors affect the survival of the COVID-19 virus on different surfaces.

The study, published in the journal ‘Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications’, stated that virus-like particles (VLPs) “faithfully mimic the external structure of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

The researchers at the University of Utah in the US said that the virus-like particles used for the study were empty shells made of the same lipids and proteins as that of SARS-CoV-2 virus, but without RNA that causes infections.

“The VLPs, however, possess no genome and thus present no infectious threat which enables rapid studies with reduced safety requirements,” the researchers wrote.

During the study, scientists tested the VLPs on glass surfaces under both dry and humid conditions.

“When it comes to fighting the spread of this virus, you kind of have to fight every particle individually. And so you need to understand what makes each individual particle degrade,” said co-author of the study Michael Vershinin.

“What’s surprising is how little heat was needed to break them down–surfaces that are warm to the touch, but not hot. The packaging of this virus is very sensitive to temperature,” he added.

The researchers said that in order to remain infectious, the SARS-CoV-2 membrane needs specific proteins arranged in a specific order.

The virus becomes less infectious when the structure falls apart, said the scientists, suggesting that as temperatures fall in winters, the virus on surfaces remains infectious longer.

Also Read: COVID-19 Likely To Spread More Via Droplets During Winters, Social Distancing Not Enough: Study

Also Read: Will COVID-19 Spread In Winter? Read What Experts Say

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