A Systematic Review of Surface Contamination, Stability, and Disinfection Data on SARS-CoV-2 (Through July 10, 2020)

Environ Sci Technol. 2021 Apr 6;55(7):4162-4173. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c05651. Epub 2020 Nov 23.


We conducted a systematic review of hygiene intervention effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2, including developing inclusion criteria, conducting the search, selecting articles for inclusion, and summarizing included articles. Overall, 96 268 articles were screened and 78 articles met inclusion criteria with outcomes in surface contamination, stability, and disinfection. Surface contamination was assessed on 3343 surfaces using presence/absence methods. Laboratories had the highest percent positive surfaces (21%, n = 83), followed by patient-room healthcare facility surfaces (17%, n = 1170), non-COVID-patient-room healthcare facility surfaces (12%, n = 1429), and household surfaces (3%, n = 161). Surface stability was assessed using infectivity, SARS-CoV-2 survived on stainless steel, plastic, and nitrile for half-life 2.3-17.9 h. Half-life decreased with temperature and humidity increases, and was unvaried by surface type. Ten surface disinfection tests with SARS-CoV-2, and 15 tests with surrogates, indicated sunlight, ultraviolet light, ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and hypochlorite attain 99.9% reduction. Overall there was (1) an inability to align SARS-CoV-2 contaminated surfaces with survivability data and effective surface disinfection methods for these surfaces; (2) a knowledge gap on fomite contribution to SARS-COV-2 transmission; (3) a need for testing method standardization to ensure data comparability; and (4) a need for research on hygiene interventions besides surfaces, particularly handwashing, to continue developing recommendations for interrupting SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; surface contamination; surface disinfection; surface stability.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Disinfection
  • Fomites
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • SARS-CoV-2*