Virus does less well in sunlight and warm, humid conditions

The head of the science and technology directorate at the Department of Homeland Security, Bill Bryan, explained how the coronavirus reacts in sunlight and warm, humid conditions.
6:16 | 04/23/20

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Transcript for Virus does less well in sunlight and warm, humid conditions
Thank you miss vice president thank you Mr. President. For this opportunity do this today Fred good afternoon everybody my name's bill O'Brien and I leave the science and technology directorate at the US Department of Homeland Security. Over the last several months we've intensified the department's RD efforts to identify and deliver information that informs our response to Covert nineteen. S&T is working to identify develop deploy and deploy the tools and information to support our response to this crisis. As part of our efforts we're leveraging the unique capabilities. Of S and t.'s national bio defense analysis and countermeasures center. To study the biology of the Covert nineteen virus. The center is a high bio containment laboratory located in Frederick Maryland. It was established in the early two thousands in response the America merit tracks attacks. And where we studied characterize analyze and develop countermeasures for biological threats to the home. We work closely with the CDC FDA HHS. And also our department friends colleagues and many others. Yesterday assured the emerging results of our work that we're doing now with the corona virus task force. And today are like to share certain trends that we believe are important. It if I may have a first slide please. And while that's coming up our most striking observation to date with a powerful effect that solar light. Appears to have a two and the virus both surfaces and in the air. We've seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well we're increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favorable to the virus. So let me illustrate as first light. If you look to the right you'll see that term half life. With a bunch of time stamps on there. First of a two and a half life is we don't measure the virus is far how long we'll live on the surface we have to measure the decay of the virus in terms of its half life. Because when we we don't know certain elements we don't know how much a person expect rates when he when he spits. Right when he sneezes whatever the case may be we don't know how much of viruses and there. So would that that hasn't been. Long by bearing on how long the virus is going to be alive and active. So are measured Catholic is half like doesn't change so if you look at an eighteen hour half life which are basically saying is that every eighteen hours. The virus the life of the virus is cut in half. So if you start with a thousand particles of the virus in eighteen hours or Donna 500 an eighteen hours after that you're down to 250 and so on and so forth. That's importance explain the rest of the chart. If you look at the first three lines who used to work surface we're talking about not porous surfaces door handles stainless steel. If you look at deep as the temperature increases. As a humidity increases with no son involved. You can see how drastically half life goes down that mark Sobel the virus is dying at a much more rapid pace. Just from exposure to higher temperatures and just for exposure to humidity. If you look at the fourth line. You inject summer the sunlight into that you inject UV rays into that the same effects on line to. As seven is 35 degrees with 80% humidity. On the surface and look at line four but not reject this on the half life goes from six hours to two minutes. That's how much of an impact. UV rays has on the virus the last two lines or aerosols. What does it do in the air. We have a very unique capability I was discussing this with the president prior to coming out he wanted me to convey it to you. On how we do this probably were the only lab in the country that has this capability but if you can imagine a home people bucket a five gallon Home Depot bucket. Were able to take a particle mrs. dissolved developed and designed by our folks at the end back. We're able to take particle of the virus and suspended in the air inside the Strom. An end and hit it was various temperatures various humidity levels. Multiple different kinds of environmental conditions to include sunlight and we're able to measure that kid that virus wallet suspended in the year this is how we do our rehearsal testing. We worked at John Hopkins applied physics lab and we actually developing larger drawn to actually more testing as four times the size of that. So this is the capability that we bring to this effort. So in summary within the conditions we've tested today. The virus in droplets of slot that's saliva survives best in indoors and dry conditions the virus does not survive as well in dropouts it's about saliva and that's important. There's a lot of testing being done is not miss that being done number one with the Pope in nineteen virus and number two in saliva or respiratory fluids. And thirdly the virus dies the quickest in the presence of direct sunlight under these conditions and we knew when you look at that chart look at the air solid debris that. You to put it in a room seven use 35 degrees 20% humidity low humidity. The less than half like there's about an hour. But you get outside because down movement and a half very significant difference. When it really gets you with UV rays. Mr. President while there are many unknown links. In the code nineteen transmission chain. We believe these trends can support practical decision making to lower the risks associated with the virus if I have my next slide. And when that car while that comes up. You'll see a number of some practical applications for example increasing the temperature and humidity. A potentially contaminated indoor spaces appears to reduce the stability of the virus. An extra care may be warranted for dry environments that do not have exposure to solar light. We're also testing disinfect its. Readily available we've tested bleach we've tested iso problem alcohol. I'm the virus specifically in saliva or respiratory fluids. And I can tell you that bleach will kill the virus in five minutes are some trouble awful horrible killer virus in thirty seconds and that's with no manipulation. No running just bring about a leading ago you rub it and it goes away even faster. We're also looking at other disinfectant is specifically looking at the Covert nineteen virus and saliva. This is not the end of our work as we continue to characterize this virus to integrate our findings in a practical applications to mitigate exposure and transmission. I like to thank the president. Think the vice president for their ongoing support and leadership to the department. And for their work in addressing this pandemic I would also like to think the scientists not only in S&T and the yen back but to larger scientific and RD community. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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