Persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment and COVID-19 transmission risk from environmental matrices and surfaces

Environ Pollut. 2020 Oct;265(Pt B):115010. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115010. Epub 2020 Jun 9.


The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading around the world, representing a global pandemic, counting, as of June 5th, 2020, over 6,600,000 confirmed cases and more than 390,000 deaths, with exponentially increasing numbers. In the first half of 2020, because of the widespread of the COVID-19, researches were focused on the monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in water, wastewater, sludge, air, and on surfaces, in order to assess the risk of contracting the viral infection from contaminated environments. So far, the survival of the novel Coronavirus out of the human body has been reported for short time periods (from hours to few days, in optimized in vitro conditions), mainly because of the need of an host organism which could consent the viral attack, and due to the weak external membrane of the virus. SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding strategies in the environment, either through animate and unanimate matrices, or exploiting the organic matter in water, wastewater, and waste in general, have been discussed in the present article. We concluded that, besides the high infectuousness of the novel Coronavirus, the transmission of the pathogen may be efficiently contained applying the adequate preventive measures (e.g., personal protection equipments, and disinfecting agents), indicated by national and international health authories.

Keywords: 2019 n-CoV; Airborne; Coronavirus; Disinfection; Wastewater; survival.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Coronavirus*
  • Environment
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2