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Chinese study that infectious coronavirus can survive on frozen salmon for a week

Published on:9 September 2020, 21:26pm IST
A study fresh from China claims that coronavirus can survive and stay infectious on chilled salmon fish for a week.
Team Health Shots
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Frozen food may not be safe from coronavirus. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We’ve known just how long the highly-infectious coronavirus can stay surfaces, and so we do our part by sanitising each and every surface—then be it that parcel you just got home delivered or the knob of the front door everyone touches.

Of late, we’ve also heard of how the covid-19 virus survives on frozen food packaging—though whether or not it’s infectious, is yet to be confirmed. However, there is one piece of news in this saga that is truly scary. Turns out SARS-CoV-2 can survive on chilled salmon for a week—and could possibly be infection.

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This finding comes from researchers from China, where imported fish have been investigated as a potential source of infections.

covid-19 and food
Frozen food imports in China have come under fire for being infected earlier as well? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Researchers at the South China Agricultural University and Guangdong Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Guangzhou found that the Covid-19 virus, collected from salmon samples could survive for eight days at 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s roughly the temperature at which the fish are transported.

Chinese authorities have been investigating imported meat, packaging and containers as a potential source of covid-19 since June after repeatedly finding traces of the pathogen on packaging and food. Six of more than 500,000 samples tested have been positive for the coronavirus, according to China’s customs agency.

The researchers said, noting the fish must be kept at a temperature of 0-4 degrees Celsius during shipping:

SARS-CoV-2-contaminated fish from one country can be easily transported to another country within one week, thus serving as one of the sources for international transmission.

The researchers are yet to answer some pertinent questions about the situation. Questions like: can cooking the fish actually kill the virus? Is it just salmon that can host the virus for as long or do other types of fish pose the risk as well. Till we don’t get clarity on such questions, the safety factor when it comes to consuming frozen foods still remains unknown.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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