A group of French scientists from the University of Provence found that the coronavirus completely dies when exposed to heat at 92 degrees for 15 minutes. Their findings are published on the bioRxiv resource, which publishes scientific materials.
During the experiment, the researchers heated the coronavirus to 60 degrees for an hour, finding that after such exposure, some of its strains were still able to multiply. Hourly heating to 60 degrees is the standard protocol for virus inactivation used in most laboratories where patient analyzes are performed. At the same time, it was possible to completely deactivate the coronavirus after heating to 92 degrees for 15 minutes.
For the study, scientists used African green monkey kidney cells infected with a coronavirus strain obtained from a patient in Germany. Infected cells were placed in two tubes: one with a clean medium, the other with animal proteins, simulating real, not sterile, conditions.
After the standard heating procedure, the virus strains in a clean environment were completely deactivated, but some of them survived in non-sterile samples. The researchers suggested that a standard decontamination protocol might be sufficient to kill samples with low viral load, but that it might not be enough for samples with a high viral load.
The authors of the experiment noted that the results of their study should contribute to the selection of the most appropriate protocol for decontamination of the virus to prevent the threat of infection of the medical staff who directly work with the samples.