As per a new study, the Omicron variant of coronavirus can remain alive on the skin for over 21 hours.
It can stay for more than eight days on plastic surfaces. This could possibly be the reason behind its higher transmissibility.
Researchers from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan after analysing the differences in viral environmental stability between the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain and all variants of concern (VOCs) came to this conclusion.
Although, the study is yet-to-be peer-reviewed. “The high environmental stability of these VOCs could increase the risk of contact transmission and contribute to their spread,” the authors of the study said.
“This study showed that Omicron variant has the highest environmental stability among VOCs, which might be one of the factors that have allowed the variant to replace the Delta variant and spread rapidly,” they added further.
The study also shows on plastic surfaces, the average survival times of the original strain and the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants were 56 hours, 191.3 hours, 156.6 hours, 59.3 hours, and 114 hours, respectively.
While it remains 193.5 hours for the Omicron variant, as per the researchers.
When it comes to skin samples, average virus survival times were 8.6 hours for the original version, 19.6 hours for Alpha, 19.1 hours for Beta, 11 hours for Gamma, 16.8 hours for Delta and 21.1 hours for Omicron.
However, there was no significant difference in survival times between Alpha and Beta variants.
This is the reason why experts highly recommend that current infection control (hand hygiene) practices use disinfectants… as proposed by the World Health Organization also.
The Omicron variant remains a major concern due to its rapid spreading worldwide.
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