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Studies find COVID-19 coronavirus can survive 28 days on some surfaces, 11 hours on skin

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can survive on items such as banknotes and phones for up to 28 days in cool, dark conditions, according to a study by Australia’s national science agency. Researchers at CSIRO’s disease preparedness centre tested the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 in the dark at three temperatures, showing survival rates decreased as conditions became hotter, the agency said Monday.

The scientists found that at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, SARS-CoV-2 was “extremely robust” on smooth surfaces — like cell phone and other touch screens — surviving for 28 days on glass, steel and plastic banknotes.

At 86 degrees Fahrenheit, the survival rate dropped to seven days and plunged to just 24 hours at 104 degrees Fahrenheit.


Alarming spike of COVID-19 cases across the U…

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The virus survived for shorter periods on porous surfaces such as cotton — up to 14 days at the lowest temperatures and less than 16 hours at the highest — the researchers said. This was “significantly longer” than previous studies which found the disease could survive for up to four days on non-porous surfaces, according to the paper published in the peer-reviewed Virology Journal.

A separate piece of research published this week by Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan found the new coronavirus  is unusually durable on human skin, too, surviving for up to 11 hours. That compares to about two hours of expected longevity for the influenza A (flu) virus on skin. The Japanese researchers said this durability “may increase the risk of contact transmission… thus accelerating the pandemic.”

The authors said in their study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, that the findings underscore the importance of hand-washing and disinfecting. 

Trevor Drew, director of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, said their study involved drying samples of the virus on different materials before testing them, using an “extremely sensitive” method that found traces of live virus able to infect cell cultures.

“This doesn’t mean to say that that amount of virus would be capable of infecting someone,” he told public broadcaster ABC.

He added that if a person was “careless with these materials and touched them and then licked your hands or touched your eyes or your nose, you might well get infected upwards of two weeks after they had been contaminated.”

Critical for “risk mitigation”

Drew said there were several caveats including that the study was conducted with fixed levels of virus that likely represented the peak of a typical infection, and there was an absence of exposure to ultraviolet light, which can rapidly degrade the virus.

Humidity was kept steady at 50 percent, the study said, as increases in humidity have also been found as detrimental to the virus.

According to the CSIRO, the virus appears to primarily spread through the air but more research was needed to provide further insights into the transmission of the virus via surfaces.


CDC says COVID-19 is “sometimes” airborne

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“While the precise role of surface transmission, the degree of surface contact and

Studies Back Salvage RT After Prostatectomy

Three randomized trials and a meta-analysis of the trials failed to show a significant effect of adjuvant radiotherapy on biochemical progression or combined clinical events after radical prostatectomy for early, high-risk prostate cancer.

In the largest of the three trials, salvage radiotherapy was associated with a 3% absolute advantage for biochemical progression-free survival (bPFS) at 5 years, although the difference did not reach statistical significance. One of the smaller trials showed absolute difference in bPFS of 1% at 6 years in favor of salvage therapy, whereas the other showed a nonsignificant 2% higher event-free survival (EFS) with salvage radiotherapy.

The meta-analysis, which included 2,153 randomized patients, yielded a 5-year EFS of 89% with adjuvant radiotherapy and 88% with salvage therapy, also not significant.

The largest of the trials and the meta-analysis were published simultaneously in the Lancet, and the two smaller trials in the Lancet Oncology.

Collectively, the trials had some limitations and potential confounders that left the door open for a beneficial effect of adjuvant radiotherapy in selected patients, according to the authors of an accompanying commentary. For example, one of the randomized trials included patients who normally would skip radiotherapy because of low clinical risk, while another trial had a potential time bias for assessment of bPFS after salvage radiotherapy. Also, use of hormonal therapy varied.

“Nonetheless, the four studies represent an important step forward and support the use of early salvage as opposed to adjuvant radiotherapy for many patients after radical prostatectomy, with the possible exception of those at high risk for progression…which comprised less than 20% of men in the three randomized trials, and for whom shared patient and clinician decision making should be considered,” wrote Derya Tilki, MD, of University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, and Anthony V. D’Amico, MD, PhD, of Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

RADICALS-RT

Follow-up continues in the RADICALS-RT randomized trial, which has a primary endpoint of metastasis-free survival. However, as previously reported, the analysis of bPFS showed no significant benefit with adjuvant radiotherapy. The trial included 1,396 patients with localized prostate cancer associated with at least one high-risk characteristic (pathologic T-stage 3 or 4, Gleason score 7-10, positive surgical margins, or preoperative PSA ≥10 ng/mL).

All patients underwent radical prostatectomy and were randomized to early adjuvant radiotherapy or to a watch-and-wait strategy of salvage irradiation. In the adjuvant group, radiation therapy was delivered within 6 months in 93% of patients, whereas a third of patients in the salvage group received radiotherapy within 8 years of surgery.

The 5-year bPFS was 85% with adjuvant therapy and 88% with salvage therapy, representing a nonsignificant 10% increase in the risk of biochemical progression in the adjuvant group (95% CI 0.81-1.49, P=0.56). Additionally, adjuvant radiation therapy was associated with a higher incidence of urinary morbidity, reported Matthew R. Sydes, MD, of University College London, and colleagues.

RAVES

Conducted in Australia and New Zealand, data analysis for the phase III RAVES trial included 333 patients with high-risk features. The trial had a