A new study from government lab experiments says preliminary results indicate the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is quickly destroyed on surfaces by sunlight and does not live long in high temperatures and high humidity.
The study, obtained by Yahoo News, “offers hope that summertime may offer conditions less hospitable for the virus, though experts caution it will by no means eliminate, or even necessarily decrease, new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus,” Yahoo reported. “The results, however, do add an important piece of knowledge that the White House’s science advisers have been seeking as they scramble to respond to the spreading pandemic.”
The study found that the risk “of transmission from surfaces outdoors is lower during daylight,” and under higher temperature and humidity conditions. “Sunlight destroys the virus quickly,” reads the briefing. While that may provide some good news about the outlook for outdoor activities, the Department of Homeland Security [DHS] briefing on the results cautions that enclosed areas with low humidity, such as airplane cabins, “may require additional care to minimize risk of transmission.”
Yahoo News said the DHS “declined to answer questions about the findings and strongly cautioned against drawing any conclusions based on unpublished data.”
“The department is dedicated to the fight against COVID-19, and the health and safety of the American people is its top priority. As policy, the department does not comment on allegedly leaked documents,” DHS said in a statement to Yahoo. “It would be irresponsible to speculate, draw conclusions, or to inadvertently try to influence the public based upon a document that has not yet been peer-reviewed or subjected to the rigorous scientific validation approach.”
The study came a day after another study found the experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir, often touted by President Donald Trump as a possible “game changer,” is showing promise in a Chicago clinical trial, according to the health news site STAT.
Patients in the Chicago trial rapidly recovered after being treated with the drug, which alleviated their fever and respiratory symptoms ailments. Nearly all of the patients were discharged in less than a week, the site said.
Trump has called remdesivir a “promising” drug that could be used in the treatment of COVID-19. Until recently, there was little data to show that the drug was effective.
“Remdesivir was one of the first medicines identified as having the potential to impact SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, in lab tests,” STAT reported. “The entire world has been waiting for results from Gilead’s clinical trials, and positive results would likely lead to fast approvals by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. If safe and effective, it could become the first approved treatment against the disease.”
The University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with Covid-19 into Gilead’s two Phase 3 clinical trials. Of those people, 113 had severe disease. All the patients have been treated with daily infusions of remdesivir.
“The best news is that most of our patients have already been discharged, which is great. We’ve only had two patients perish,” said Kathleen Mullane, the University of Chicago infectious disease specialist overseeing the remdesivir studies for the hospital.
The University of Chicago’s Kathleen Mullane said the study is not extensive enough to yet draw conclusions and does not include a placebo group, but said that when patients start to use the drug, fever curves tend to fall rapidly.