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The effect of temperature and humidity on the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and other enveloped viruses

By Dylan H. Morris, Kwe Claude Yinda, Amandine Gamble, Fernando W. Rossine, Qishen Huang, Trenton Bushmaker, Robert J. Fischer, M. Jeremiah Matson, Neeltje van Doremalen, Peter J. Vikesland, Linsey C. Marr, Vincent J. Munster, James O. Lloyd-Smith

Posted 16 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.16.341883

Understanding the impact of environmental conditions on virus viability and transmission potential is crucial to anticipating epidemic dynamics and designing mitigation strategies. Ambient temperature and humidity are known to have strong effects on the environmental stability of viruses, but a general quantitative understanding of how temperature and humidity affect virus stability has remained elusive. We characterize the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on an inert surface at a variety of temperature and humidity conditions, and introduce a mechanistic model that enables accurate prediction of virus stability in unobserved conditions. We find that SARS-CoV-2 survives better at low temperatures and extreme relative humidities; median estimated virus half-life was more than 24 hours at 10 °C and 40 % RH, but approximately an hour and a half at 27 °C and 65 % RH. Moreover, our model predicts observations from other human coronaviruses and other studies of SARS-CoV-2, suggesting the existence of shared mechanisms that determine environmental stability across a number of enveloped viruses. Our results highlight scenarios of particular transmission risk and point to broad strategies for pandemic mitigation, while opening new frontiers for the mechanistic study of viral transmission. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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