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You Probably Won't Get COVID From Handling Cash: Study

THURSDAY, Aug. 5, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Go ahead, put your credit card away: Handling cash and coins isn't likely to give you COVID-19.

European researchers treated various coins and paper money with different concentrations of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID. A stainless steel surface was used as a control.

"Under realistic conditions, infection with SARS-CoV-2 from cash is very unlikely," said study co-leader Daniel Todt, a postdoctoral researcher in medical and molecular virology at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany.

It took just three days for infectious SARS-CoV-2 to disappear completely from a 10-euro bankrote, while it remained on the stainless steel after seven days, his team found.

The virus disappeared from a 10-cent, 1-euro, and 5-cent coins 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," Todt said in a university news release.

The researchers also developed a new method to study how well the virus is transferred from a surface to the fingertip. They contaminated banknotes, coins and credit-card-like PVC plates with harmless coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.

Volunteers touched the surfaces that contained harmless coronaviruses, and used artificial skin to touch the surfaces contaminated with SARS-CoV-2.

Samples were taken from the volunteers' fingertips or the artificial skin and placed into cell cultures.

"We saw that immediately after the liquid had dried, there was practically no transmission of infectious virus," Todt said.

The study -- published July 26 in the journal iScience -- was conducted with the Alpha variant of SARS-Cov-2 in addition to the wild-type variant.

The findings are consistent with previous research showing that the vast majority of COVID cases occur via airborne transmission.

More information

For more on protecting yourself and others from COVID-19, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Ruhr University Bochum, news release, July 29, 2021

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