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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

New research: Very low risk of coronavirus infection from cash

Is it possible to become infected with coronavirus through contact with cash? Here are findings of a new study.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 3, 2021 11:26:43 am
A cashier counts currency notes (File Photo)

Is it possible to become infected with coronavirus through contact with cash? Researchers developed a method and, in a study, reconfirmed what scientists have stressed earlier: that under realistic conditions, the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 from cash is very low.

The study was conducted by researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany, in collaboration with experts at the European Central Bank, the university said in a press release. The paper has been published in the journal iScience.

Over several days, the researchers treated various euro coins and banknotes with virus solutions of different concentrations. A stainless-steel surface served as a control in each case. The tests showed that while infectious virus was still present on the stainless-steel surface after seven days, on the 10-euro banknote, it took only three days to completely disappear. For the 10-cent, 1-euro, and 5-cent coins, no infectious virus was detectable after six days, two days and one hour, respectively. “The rapid decline on the 5-cent piece is because it’s made of copper, on which viruses are known to be less stable,” Ruhr-Universität Bochum quoted researcher Daniel Todt as saying.

In the new method they developed, the researchers contaminated banknotes, coins and credit-card-like PVC plates with harmless coronaviruses and, under high-security conditions, also with SARS-CoV-2. These surfaces were then touched, while still wet or when already dried, by test subjects with their fingertips or, in the case of SARS-CoV-2, with artificial skin. Cell cultures were then inoculated with the viruses adhering to the fingertips. This allowed the researchers to determine the number of transmitted virus particles that were still infectious.

Other studies have shown that in the vast majority of cases, infection occurs via aerosols or droplets.

Source: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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