Effect of Environmental Conditions on SARS-CoV-2 Stability in Human Nasal Mucus and Sputum

Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Sep;26(9):2276-2278. doi: 10.3201/eid2609.202267. Epub 2020 Jun 8.


We found that environmental conditions affect the stability of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in nasal mucus and sputum. The virus is more stable at low-temperature and low-humidity conditions, whereas warmer temperature and higher humidity shortened half-life. Although infectious virus was undetectable after 48 hours, viral RNA remained detectable for 7 days.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease; respiratory infections; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Mucus / virology*
  • Nasal Cavity / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Viral / analysis*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sputum / virology*


  • RNA, Viral