A systematic review of emerging human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak: focus on disinfection methods, environmental survival, and control and prevention strategies

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Jan;28(1):1-15. doi: 10.1007/s11356-020-11060-z. Epub 2020 Oct 2.


Recently, an outbreak of a novel human coronavirus which is referred to as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (COVID-19) by the World Health Organization (WHO) was identified in Wuhan, China. To help combat the pandemic, a systematic review (SR) was performed to collect all available studies concerning inactivation methods, environmental survival, and control and prevention strategies. A comprehensive literature survey yielded 42 eligible studies which included in the SR. The results confirmed that the WHO recommended two alcohol-based hand rub formulations (ethanol 70-95% and 2-propanol 70-100%) had an efficient virucidal activity in less than 60 s by more and equal 4 log10 (≥ 99.99) approximately and could be used for disinfection in public health and health-care facilities. The findings indicated that SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 can survive under different environmental conditions between 4 and 72 h approximately. The results also demonstrate that temperature and relative humidity are important factors in the survival of SARS-CoV-2. The main strategies recommended by the WHO to avoid contracting SARS-CoV-2 are hand washing several times in the day and maintaining social distancing with others. It is important to note that the more studies require addressing, the more possible airborne transmission due to the survival of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols for 3 h approximately. We hope that the results of the present SR can help researchers, health decision-makers, policy-makers, and people for understanding and taking the proper behavior to control and prevent further spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: COVID-19; Environmental survival; Inactivation methods; Prevention strategies; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • China
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Disinfection
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2*