Newspapers don't transmit coronavirus, finds study; ‘sterility of ink and paper processes’ make newsprints safe

Researchers have been studying the spread of coronavirus and the surfaces on which it can stay for long. In a recent study, it has been found that porous paper surfaces like newsprint are safe from the virus

FP Trending March 25, 2020 13:43:27 IST
Newspapers don't transmit coronavirus, finds study; ‘sterility of ink and paper processes’ make newsprints safe

Researchers have been studying the spread of coronavirus and the surfaces on which it can stay for long. In a recent study, it has been found that “porous paper surfaces” like newsprint are safe from the virus.

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Representational image of newspapers. Creative Commons.

Earl J Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and executive director of the International News Media Association (INMA), shared these findings. He wrote that there never has been a “documented incident” of a person contracting COVID-19 from the surface of a “print newspaper, print magazine, print letter, or print package”.

In his blog, Wilkinson wrote that INMA received queries on the probability of the novel coronavirus spreading through printed material and hence conducted a survey with the help of four sources, World Health Organization (WHO), Journal of Hospital Infection, National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases (NIH) and John Innes Centre.

The sources echoed that although it may be possible for a person to get coronavirus by touching a surface that has the virus on it, but it is not the “main way the virus spreads”. Also, the risk of a person of “catching the virus” from a delivery package is low as the chance of an “infected person contaminating commercial goods is low”.

Wilkinson added research has shown that coronavirus lasts the “longest on smooth, non-porous surfaces” like plastic and stainless steel. On porous objects like cardboard, the virus starts to lose its viability after 24 hours. For newsprint, which is even more porous than cardboard, the period of the virus’ viability is even shorter.

When the virus is left on surfaces, it keeps losing its ability to be an infectious agent.

Wilkinson added that newsprint was “safest because of the sterility of ink and paper processes”. Moreover, publishers were taking all delivery precautions, he said.

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