Coronavirus on chilled salmon may be infectious for over a week

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The virus remained infectious for 8 days after being kept at a temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.

A team of Chinese researchers has found the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can survive for more than a week on the surface of chilled fresh salmon, raising implications that it could be a source of international transmission.

“Under such condition, contaminated fish from one country can be easily transported to another country within one week, thus serving as one of the sources for international transmission,” said the Chinese scientists led by Dr Dai Manman in a non-peer-reviewed paper published in biorxiv.org on Monday.

The first strain of SARS-CoV-2 was detected in the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan at the end of last year. Numerous international studies suggested the virus emerged elsewhere, most likely outside Wuhan. Additionally, the scientists cited other countries finding SARS-CoV-2 on meat or in meatpacking employees as a reason to investigate the virus’s survival time on salmon.

The researchers bought the fish from a shop in Guangzhou, cut the meat into small cubes and treated them with a solution containing the viral particles before storing the cubes at different temperatures. Each day a sample was taken out for a test to see if the virus could infect normal cells. The government of the southern province of Guangdong said last month that it was unable to retrieve living strains from meat samples collected during containment efforts that had traces of the virus.A recent study by the US military showed the virus could stay infectious for at least two weeks on pigs’ skin at 4 degrees, and four days at room temperature.

 

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