A study released Friday has found that the coronavirus HCoV-19, which is causing the Covid-19 pandemic, can survive on packaging for between 24 hours and three days depending on the surface material. 

The study was led by researchers from Princeton University and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Montana, US. It assessed the aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 and estimated virus decay rates. 

It found that the virus could be detected in aerosols up to three hours following aerosolisation, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to three days on plastic. 

Covid-19 is spread by droplets that fall onto surfaces or hands when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

The report said: “Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 are plausible, as the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.” 

The research was pre-printed in light of the Covid-19 epidemic and is yet to be peer reviewed. 

London-based restaurant Wahlburgers general manager Wedson Soares told Packaging Gateway: “Our priority as a company and a member of our community remains the health, safety, and well-being of our team and guests.

“We have also introduced enforcing double bags of all takeaway items. When we prepare our food deliveries, we have advised the customer to take the internal bag, thus avoiding any contact.”

A representative from the British Plastic Federation told Packaging Gateway: “Plastic packaging is designed to be hygienic and adheres to strict legislation, ensuring it is extremely safe. This makes it ideal for packaging food, medicines and pharmaceuticals, where it is designed to be durable, lightweight and secure.

“It reduces risk by using tamper-evident and even child-resistant mechanisms as well as having shatterproof properties. Ensuring the safety of consumers is imperative and plastic packaging provides a sealed, hygienic and safe option.”