J Korean Med Sci.  2020 Sep;35(36):e330. 10.3346/jkms.2020.35.e330.

Characterization of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Stability in Multiple Water Matrices

Abstract

The advent of the global pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) necessitates a thorough study of the stability and transmissibility in the environment. We characterized the stability of SARS-CoV-2 in three water matrices: fresh, tap, and seawater. The minimum infective dose of SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells was confirmed to be 10 3 PFU/mL. The stability of SARS-CoV-2 varied according to the water matrix: infective SARSCoV-2 was undetectable after treatment with fresh water and seawater, but remained detectable for 2 days in tap water, when starting with an initial concentration of 10 4 PFU/mL. When the starting concentration was increased to 10 5 PFU/mL, a similar trend was observed. In addition, viral RNA persisted longer than infectious virus in all water matrices. This study was conducted in stagnant water containing a significantly high titer of virus, thus, human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the actual aquatic environment is expected to be rare.

Keyword

SARS-CoV-2; Coronavirus; Water Stability; Virus Inactivation
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