Public health expert Professor Emily Bailey of Campbell University and her colleagues decided to research how long coronavirus might last on frozen meat following cases of COVID-19 outbreaks in Southeast Asia that occurred with none community transmission. Reports, Prof Bailey explained, “suggested that packaged meat products, produced in areas where SARS-CoV-2 was circulating, might have been the source of the virus. “Our goal was to research whether or not similar viruses could survive on this environment.”
Of their study, the researchers conducted experiments involving 4 several types of meat or fish – beef, chicken, pork and salmon.
Each meat type was sliced into small pieces that were dosed with 100 microlitres of diluted surrogate viruses that use spikes much like those found on SARS-CoV-2.
These included phi 6, a lipid-enveloped RNA bacteriophage, and two animal coronaviruses — murine hepatitis virus and transmissible gastroenteritis virus.
Following this, the investigators stored samples of the infected products at each refrigerator and freezer temperatures — specifically 4C (39.2F) and -29C (-4F).
The samples were stored for 0, 3, 7, 14, or 30 days.
Prof Bailey said: “Although you may not store meat within the fridge for 30 days, you may store it within the freezer for that long.”
“We even found that the viruses might be cultured after that length of time.”
The precise rate of survival relied on the actual viral surrogate and storage temperature, the team explained.
They added: “But overall, viruses survived for prolonged periods of time at high concentrations at each refrigerated and frozen temperatures.”
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The findings come as official data indicate that 2.7 million people within the UK had COVID-19 last week — a rise of 18 percent over the week before.
Within the House of Lords, health minister Lord Kamall told peers that if rising cases placed an excessive amount of strain on the already-backlogged health system, “clearly measures might must be introduced.”
Several experts have called for the return of free lateral flow tests, face coverings and a return to outdoor mixing.
Virologist Steve Griffin said: “We’re experiencing plateaus of infection between waves which might be far higher than we ever had before last summer, simply on account of the dearth of mitigations in place.
“Leaving vaccines to take care of the pandemic alone simply isn’t working and we’d like to do more over the long run to construct resilience against such a high level of infections.
“This doesn’t mean lockdowns but learning to proactively live with the virus, relatively than passively ignoring and dismissing this infection, which stays a public health concern no matter some wishes or personal decisions.”