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Coronavirus can survive on frozen meat and fish for up to 3 weeks

CAPE TOWN – A recent study found Coronavirus able to survive on fresh and frozen meat and fish which could explain recent outbreaks in Vietnam and New Zealand with the importing of potentially contaminated food.

A recent study published in BioRxiv found SARS-CoV-2 can survive on frozen meat and fish for up to 3 weeks with researchers continuing to explore the possibility of importing of contaminated foods being the reason for recent outbreaks in certain countries where there had been no Covid-19 cases for months.

The researcher carried out tests with chicken, salmon and pork, contaminating the pieces of meat and fish with SARS-CoV-2. The study then stored the contaminated samples at three different temperatures, 4°C, –20°C and –80°C, to simulate refrigerator storage and transportation.

The study found that the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 remained constant throughout all three temperatures with infectivity maintained for three weeks.

“The WHO advises that it is very unlikely that people can contract Covid-19 from food or food packaging. While it can be confidently argued that transmission via contaminated food is not a major infection route, the potential for movement of contaminated items to a region with no Covid-19 and initiate an outbreak is an important hypothesis.” said in the study report.

The team of researchers advise the possibility of transmission via food transportation and storage to be be considered a larger risk as their findings prove that SARS-CoV-2 is able to survive all associated conditions regarding international food trade, transportation and storage conditions and call for food processing premises as the source of the risk that needs to take further health protocols in efforts to avert possible outbreaks.


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