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Detect where COVID-19 is “surfacing”, within touching distance

Coronavirus infected surfaces are everywhere, waiting for that human touch to easily invade, infect, and kill. What can you do about this?

Intertek launched COVID-19 surface hygiene testing for facilities and workplaces in the UAE COVID-19 was found on unlikely surfaces, including underneath a bench and the top of a vending machine Mobile phones are likely to be a ‘Trojan horse’ carrying the disease into your home without your knowledge

Masks help prevent airborne COVID-19 droplets from finding a new home to breed inside your mouth or lungs.

But Coronavirus infected surfaces are everywhere, waiting for that human touch to easily invade, infect, and kill.

As employers and businesses across the country prepare to safely reopen their facilities, stringent hygiene standards will become mission-critical. 

Global and local biotech companies are coming out with testing kits and solutions to detect COVID-19 and alert businesses of these uninvited and deadly assassins.   

Testing for COVID-19 surfaces

Intertek, a Total Quality Assurance provider to industries worldwide, has announced that it has launched surface hygiene testing for facilities and workplaces in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that can test a variety of hard surfaces for evidence of COVID-19.  

This allows them to monitor the effectiveness of their hygiene protocols and enable management action such as isolating areas to allow further cleaning.

The Intertek laboratories are based centrally in the UAE with rapid turnaround time for testing via PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) methodology. The service supports businesses across every sector including hotels, restaurants, transportation hubs, and education facilities.

Read: Which face masks defend against COVID-19? UAE’s perfect solution

According to reports, Enviral Tech, a United States (US) biotechnology company that provides molecular hygiene testing for the management of pandemic and post-pandemic facility safety assurance, announced the availability of  COVID-19 Surface Check and Air Check Test Kits. Today, Enviral Tech’s kits are used by more than 100 facilities across the US.

Enviral Tech’s services deliver results within 24 hours, faster than any other service of this type.

Phylagen, a biotech company specializing in decoding the environmental microbiome for indoor safety, also announced the national availability of its Phylagen Surface™ SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) test kit. Phylagen Surface™ provides an early indication of outbreaks in shared spaces including nursing homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants, offices, and retail shops.

Phylagen kitPhylagen also released a whitepaper supporting its indoor COVID-19 research where it showed Phylagen found SARS-CoV-2 on a variety of unlikely surfaces, including underneath a locker room bench and the top of a vending machine, both of which being not high-touch areas. 

Length of COVID-19’s life on surfaces 

On plastic and stainless steel, the virus could be detected after three days. On cardboard, the virus was not viable after 24 hours. On copper, it took 4 hours for the virus to become inactivated.

On stainless steel, it takes 5 hours 38 minutes for half of the virus particles to become inactive. On plastic, the half-life is 6 hours 49 minutes, researchers found.

On cardboard, the half-life was about three and a half hours.

The shortest survival time was on copper, where half the virus became inactivated within 46 minutes.

Read: Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not understate the importance of foreign talent and immigrants

Mobile phones are likely to be a ‘Trojan horse’ carrying the disease into your home without your knowledge, a Dubai Police scientist told Gulf News.

Major Dr. Rashid Al Ghafri, Director of Training and Development at the General Department of Forensic Sciences and Criminology at Dubai Police, conducted research with a group of scientists at a number of Australian universities that proved mobile phones represent a pathway for microbial transmission including COVID-19.

According to the research, this transfer of pathogens on phones poses a serious health concern among people as the infection may be spreading via phones within workplaces, on public transport, cruise ships, and in airplanes.

Al Ghafri said that between the research and the fact that on average humans touch their faces hundreds of times per day, the chances of infection with diseases like COVID-19 are extremely high.

Al Ghafri advised that in addition to regularly washing your hands, you should also disinfect your phone with an alcohol-based sanitizer.

The UAE has registered over 67,282 COVID-19 infections and killed over 376 people according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention.