Home / News / India /  Coronavirus may survive for 30 days on meat, fish: Study

According to a study, the COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus may persist on meat and fish products in the fridge or freezer for up to 30 days. The study, which was just published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, used surrogate viruses with spikes like those on SARS-CoV-2 together with chicken, beef, pig, and salmon as test subjects. The researchers kept the meat and fish products in the freezer and under refrigeration (4 degrees Celsius) (minus 20 degrees Celsius).

After finding that coronavirus outbreaks were happening in Southeast Asia prior to community transmission, the researchers decided to conduct the study.

One RNA virus with a lipid envelope, two animal coronaviruses, the murine hepatitis virus, and transmissible gastroenteritis virus were all utilised as surrogates in the study. All three viruses have been utilised in the past as stand-ins for SARS-CoV-2, with refrigeration temperatures often showing higher reductions in their numbers than freezing temperatures. The number of people decreased in different ways depending on the food used.

"Although you might not store meat in the fridge for 30 days, you might store it in the freezer for that long," said study first author Emily S. Bailey, an assistant professor at Campbell University in the US.

"We even found that the viruses could be cultured after (being frozen for) that length of time," Bailey said in a statement.

Reports from those communities "suggested that packaged meat products, produced in areas where SARS-CoV-2 was circulating, could have been the source of the virus," said Bailey.

"Our goal was to investigate whether or not similar viruses could survive in this environment," she said.

The research is important because SARS-CoV-2 can replicate within the gut, as well as in the respiratory tract, said Bailey.

"Continued efforts are needed to prevent contamination of foods and food processing surfaces, worker hands, and food processing utensils such as knives," the researchers noted.

“The lack of, or inadequate, disinfection of these foods prior to packaging needs to be addressed," they added.

(With PTI inputs)

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