Although we have been living with Covid-19 for almost three years, we continue to learn more about this virus. A new study has revealed in particular that SARS-CoV-2 can survive up to 30 days in frozen meat and fish. This is quite worrying news.
A problem that would be at the origin of an epidemic in Southeast Asia
Estimates of the survival of COVID-19 on different surfaces and objects has been the source of much debate since the start of the pandemic, as this can have a significant influence on the spread of the virus. If there is not much certainty on this topic, especially regarding the persistence of the virus in food, a new study by researchers at Campbell University sheds more light on the subject.
According to the results of the study published in the journal Applied and Environmental MicrobiologySARS-CoV-2 surrogates can survive up to 30 days in meat products stored in the refrigerator or freezer. « Although meat cannot be stored in the refrigerator for 30 days, it can be stored in the freezer. We even found that viruses could grow after being frozen for so long. said Emily Bailey, lead author of the study, in a declaration.
Note that this study was carried out after discovering that epidemics of Covid-19 have occurred in Southeast Asia without prior community transmission. According to reports from these communities and local health officials, the virus was introduced through imported frozen meat products from areas where SARS-CoV-2 was circulating. ” Our goal was to determine whether or not similar viruses could survive in this environment. Emily Bailey said.
A study that highlights the need for food safety
To conduct their study, the researchers kept chicken, beef, pork, and salmon at refrigeration temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius and freezer temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius. The team conducted their research without using the coronavirus that causes covid-19. Instead, meat and fish were infected with surrogate viruses with similar protein spikes. Specifically, the researchers used a lipid-enveloped RNA virus and two animal coronaviruses, the murine hepatitis virus and the gastroenteritis virus.
In addition to the survival of viruses over a period of one month, the researchers surprisingly found that refrigerated temperatures were more harmful to viruses than freezing temperatures. It was also observed that the growth of the viruses differed according to each type of meat. The researchers admitted that their study was limited by the fact that no SARS-CoV-2 strain was used. Either way, they explained that the study is still very important as it highlights the need to practice rigorous food sanitation.