COVID-19 can live on skin for up to 9 hours, but sanitizing hands can get rid of the virus in 15 seconds: study.

A recent study suggests the novel coronavirus can live on human skin for up to nine hours, but experts say those findings aren’t as alarming as they sound.

The study by Japanese researchers, published earlier this month in the science journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, looked at how long viruses can survive on human skin based on samples collected from cadavers about a day after death.

The findings suggest that the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, can remain active for 9.04 hours — nearly five times longer than the survival time of the pathogen that causes the flu.

The study also showed that an 80 per cent ethanol-based sanitizer can kill the novel coronavirus in a matter of 15 seconds.

Cynthia Carr, an epidemiologist in Winnipeg, says that’s her main take-away from the study. “It’s an important public health message to remind people that even though the virus can last basically a full workday in a lab setting, you can quickly get rid of it if you just wash your hands,” she said.