The risk of transmitting the virus is low, the researchers say, even if the candy is handled by an infected person, but washing the hands and disinfecting collected sweets will further reduce the risk.
Like a ghost, the question arises: Trick or treatment with SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the air – and maybe on candies?
In a study published on October 29, 2020 in the journal mSystems, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and San Diego State University analyzed viral load on Halloween candies handled by patients with COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2 Mainly transmitted via drip and nebulized inhalation. According to many studies, the risk of infection by touching bubbles – objects or surfaces on which the virus particles have landed and exist – is relatively low, even when the bubbles are known to have come into contact with coronavirus. new. However, the risk is not zero.
“The main lesson is that, although the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 across surfaces, including candy wrappers, is low, it can be further reduced by washing your hands with soap before Candy treats and candies wash indoors. followed by dishwashing liquid, ”said co-author Rob Knight, PhD, professor and director of the Microbiome Innovation Center at UC San Diego. “The main risk is interacting with people who aren’t wearing masks, so if you’re sharing candy, be safe by placing it on a plate where you can wave your hands from six feet away.” Knight led the research with Forest Rohwer, PhD, virologist at San Diego State University, and Louise Laurent, MD, Ph.D., professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
For their study, researchers enrolled 10 patients recently diagnosed with COVID-19 with no symptoms or mild symptoms and asked them to treat Halloween candies under three different conditions: 1 Normal by hand unwashed; 2) while deliberately coughing with generous handling; and 3) normal handling after hand washing.
The candies were then divided into two treatments – no post-treatment (no treatment) and wash with household dishwashing liquid – followed by analyzes using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. , the same technology used to diagnose COVID-19 infection in humans, and a second analytical platform that could make testing large samples faster and cheaper. Both presented similar findings.
For the candies that were not washed after treatment, the researchers found SARS-CoV-2 on 60% of the samples were deliberately coughed and 60% of the samples handled normally by hand were not washed. However, the virus was detected only 10% of candies processed after hand washing.
It’s no surprise that dishwashing liquid is effective at reducing the virus RNA on candies, with a decrease in viral load by 62.1%.
They also planned to test the bleach, “but importantly, we note that bleach sometimes leaks through some candy wrappers, making it unsafe for this cleaning use, ”Rohwer said.
The study authors emphasized that the risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 from candies was low, even when handled by someone infected with COVID-19, but it could be reduced to almost zero if the candy was only treated. For those who wash their hands for the first time and if they wash their hands with household detergent for about a minute after taking them.
Reference: “Hand washing and detergent treatment significantly reduces the amount of SARS-CoV-2 virus on Halloween candies handled by patient COVID-19” by Rodolfo A. Salido, Sydney C. Morgan, Maria I Rojas, Celestine G. Magallanes, Clarisse Marotz, Peter DeHoff, Pedro Belda-Ferre, Stefan Aigner, Deborah M. Kado, Gene W. Yeo, Jack A. Gilbert, Louise Laurent, Forest Rohwer and Rob Knight, October 29 in 2020, mSystems.
DOI: 10.1128 / mSystems.01074-20
Other co-authors include: Rodolfo A. Salido, Sydney C. Morgan, Celestien G. Magallenes, Clarisse Marotz, Peter DeHoff, Pedro Belda-Ferre, Stefan Aigner, Deborah M. Kado, Gene W. Yeo, Jack A. Gilbert, all at UC San Diego; and Maria I. Rojas of San Diego State University.