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healthcare | IST

There is clear laboratory evidence that Covid-19 virus is heat sensitive, says professor John Nicholls

Globally Coronavirus cases have crossed 2 lakh mark with over 8,200 deaths. Europe saw a sharp rise in daily infections with Italy reporting over 31,000 cases so far. Spain has almost 14,000 cases and Germany now has over 10,000 cases.
In India, the number of reported cases have crossed 150 with 3 deaths and 14 recoveries.
Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana and Ladakh have reported fresh cases on Wednesday. Maharashtra is the worst hit state in the country with over 40 cases.
An army jawan from the Ladakh scout tested positive on Wednesday. J&K government has closed Vaishno Devi Yatra for pilgrims and buses in and out of J&K have been banned.
The Indian Council of Medical Research has set up two rapid testing labs which will be functional by the end of this week. The government also plans to allow more private labs to start conducting Covid-19 tests in the coming days.
Meanwhile, at least 276 Indians infected with Coronavirus are stuck in different countries. At least 255 people are in Iran, 12 in the UAE, 5 in Italy, and 1 each in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Rwanda, and Sri Lanka.
To discuss about the crisis, CNBC-TV18 spoke to John Nicholls Professor of Pathology at University of Hong Kong.
Nicholls said: "So far the number of cases in China have been dramatically decreased. It shows that the methods which they did take might seem draconian at that time did work."
"Now, the access of infections has moved and now Europe is the epicentre and there are number of reason for that. Number one reason has been travel and the other has been people who actually think that may be the weather, in warmer climates the virus doesn't survive that long."
"However, what India has is that India has now got the benefit of seeing the mistakes and all the challenges which were faced by other countries. So you have adapted very well into the testing, the isolation and monitoring."
He further added: "We have to look at two things about the survival of the virus within the laboratory environment which is what we have been studying now for a period of time and also how long the virus survives in the actual environment."
"So, the studies which we have actually completed and they have been submitted for publication shows that the virus is actually very stable at 4 degrees Celsius but once you get to 35 degrees Celsius this virus goes down for 1 to 2 days."
"So we have actually got clear laboratory evidence that this virus like many other viruses is heat sensitive."
"The question is how much heat we can actually transfer into what is happening in the environment? So there are two camps which actually say, will warmer weather be of any benefit or not."
Seeing how there has been a very low instance of community transmission in areas where it has been very warm, in places like say Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and probably in parts of Africa and India, evidence is probably that what "we can hope for is that the virus will not survive in a very warm environment"
"However, I do understand that this has now been put as number one myth by the WHO and WHO says that it is a false hope. However, we do live in hope but the laboratory evidence is that this virus is heat sensitive."