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Washington, DC—The REALM project has released results from the sixth round of tests conducted in a Battelle laboratory that determined how long SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can remain active on five materials commonly used in furnishings, exhibits, and equipment found in museums, libraries, and archives.

The tests examined architectural glass, marble, countertop laminate, brass, and powder-coated steel. Samples of each material were inoculated with active virus, allowed to dry, and then placed in an environmentally controlled chamber with no outside light or air.

Results show that after two days, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was no longer detectable on the brass and marble. After six days, the virus was not detected on the glass, laminate, and powder-coated steel. For more information, see the full Test 6 results.

The REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) project is designed to generate scientific information to support the handling of the core library, museum, and archival materials as these institutions resume operations and reopen to the public. As part of this research, the REALM project is studying how long the SARS-CoV-2 virus survives on common materials and methods to mitigate exposure. Test 6 focused on common building materials. Results from the previous five tests are available on the REALM website.

The REALM project also makes available a compilation of SARS-CoV-2 scientific research, which summarizes current research on how the virus spreads, its survival on materials and surfaces, and the effectiveness of various prevention and decontamination measures. The research review highlights growing evidence that direct contact and respiratory droplets appear to be the primary modes of spread, and that aerosols may be a contributor to infection.

These findings add to the evolving scientific understanding regarding SARS-CoV-2, which still includes uncertainties about: how much virus is shed by an infected person through coughing, sneezing, talking, breathing, etc.; how much virus is needed to infect someone; and the likelihood of a person becoming infected indirectly through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

The REALM project is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries; and OCLC, a nonprofit library technology and research organization; in partnership with Battelle, a not-for-profit global scientific research and development organization.

Project updates are posted at oc.lc/realm-project as they become available. Those interested can also sign up through the project website to receive timely email updates when new information is released.


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