- Exact threshold temperature to deactivate COVID-19 is unknown
- Experts have varying views on temperature influence on COVID-19
- Adopt preventive measures to curb spread of coronavirus
Coronavirus: COVID-19 virus has now spread across over 110 countries and there is still no vaccine or cure for it. There has been a conjecture that increased temperature can kill the virus and that the onset of summer will lead to a breakdown in transmission of the virus. However, scientists do not have a definite answer on the influence of summertime temperatures on COVID-19, says Dr Laxman Jessani, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.
Coronavirus: What is the influence of temperature on COVID-19?
He goes on to add, "It has been observed that the virus can stay active for 8-10 days on dry surfaces and while it survives in the human body at 37 degree Celsius, they are heat labile like all viruses and are deactivated or destroyed when subjected to heat. However, the exact threshold temperature to deactivate COVID-19 is still unknown."
Around the world, while different experts have varying views on whether sunlight and heat can limit growth and longevity of the virus, they all agree that observing proper hygiene is more effective in preventing spread. However, the coronavirus is known to be sensitive to three things: Sunlight, High temperature, and Humidity. Sunlight affects the ability of a virus to grow while heat deactivates it.
While experts debate on this matter, summer is still a month away and till then it would be prudent to adopt simple measures to help prevent transmission:
- Avoid close contact with people who seem sick
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Stay at home if you are sick
- Sneeze into a tissue, then throw it in the trash
- If there are no tissues to hand, sneeze into the crook of your elbow
- Use alcohol based standard cleaning sprays and wipes to disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Periodically wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds
Dr P. Raghu Ram, President of The Association of Surgeons of India, has a contrasting view on this. He says, "If this was the case then incidence of coronavirus in countries like Australia and Singapore should have been low. There is still a lot that we need to know about the novel coronavirus."
He goes on to add that even in the opinion of World Health Organization, we should not be relying on warmer temperatures to come and put an end to coronavirus outbreak.
(Dr Laxman Jessani is Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai)
(Dr P. Raghu Ram is President of The Association of Surgeons of India)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.