The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) is challenging a recent study that was conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness. Published earlier this month in Virology Journal, the study “measured the survival rates of infectious SARS-CoV-2, suspended in a standard ASTM E2197 matrix, on several common surface types,” including banknotes.

The study’s results found that, “Survival rates of SARS-CoV-2 were determined at different temperatures and D-values, Z-values and half-life were calculated. We obtained half lives of between 1.7 and 2.7 days at 20 °C, reducing to a few hours when temperature was elevated to 40 °C. With initial viral loads broadly equivalent to the highest titres excreted by infectious patients, viable virus was isolated for up to 28 days at 20 °C from common surfaces such as glass, stainless steel and both paper and polymer banknotes. Conversely, infectious virus survived less than 24 h at 40 °C on some surfaces.”

Study Issues

However, Mike Lee, CEO of ATMIA stated, “Members of the public needn’t be alarmed by these headlines and should coolly assess all the available facts… This research was literally carried out in the dark, because the study specified that the virus samples were not subject to any light at all, and were kept on the surfaces in a highly controlled laboratory setting, called a high containment laboratory, with fixed temperatures and humidity levels. The authors openly admitted that SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to be rapidly inactivated under simulated sunlight! This virus can’t survive sufficient exposure to light and higher temperatures. UV light is its enemy, as is heat and sanitisers.”

Lee went on to say, “There was no attempt in this lab experiment to simulate real world conditions. This calls into question the true applicability of the research results. The last thing we need is a second spike in media misinformation to go along with a second spike in infections.”

CDC Guidelines

Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through objects and surfaces, like doorknobs, countertops, keyboards, toys, etc.”

To clarify the study’s results, ATMIA has reached out to the study’s authors “regarding the significant discrepancy between these lab conditions and the real world, with its greater numbers of variables and changing conditions which can affect outcomes.”

Since people around the world are hyper-sensitive to issues regarding COVID-19 and safety (with good reason), it is important for all researchers to include real world conditions in their studies in order to properly generate results that directly affect citizens.

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