There have been "suggestions" (facebook, media etc) that the novel coronavirus is heat sensitive. Specifically that the virus is "killed" or impotent when subjected to temperature of 77F.

Are there any peer-reviewed studies that would support such a contention?

More broadly, are there any peer-reviewed studies on the viability of the virus in other naturally occurring circumstances?

(As I am not a medical professional or researcher, I'm a bit lost on how to do my own research to find appropriate and reliable information on this - I'm not even sure that I'm using the appropriate terminology. This is why I've come to this site: for guidance on how to get the information )

  • There are confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia, South Africa, and South America, where it's summer, along with most of the tropics. I think that blows the 77F theory right out of the water.
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 19, 2020 at 23:11
  • 1
    @CareyGregory Yes, that follows intuitively, but what i'm looking for is clinical research that will illustrate the lifetime of the virus subjected to temperature as well as other environmental conditions. (as an example, will laundry detergent and washing in cool water kill the virus - this is an important factor in caring for a home bound infected person - and if the laundry water needs to be hot - just how hot.
    – BobE
    Mar 19, 2020 at 23:23
  • You might want to do some more research on this. Assuming you use soap in your laundry, then it won't matter much what the temperature is. Soap breaks down the lipid shell of viruses like corona, and that destroys the virus.
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 20, 2020 at 0:13
  • @CareyGregory thank you, that's the TYPE of information that I'm looking for, information that seems to have a scientific basis. Is this (lipid shell breakdown) something that you just know because of training or education, or something you were able to discover through researching clinical work of other scientists? Would you advise me to google "coronavirus breakdown" or lipid shell breakdown" or do you have some other guidance to help me in my research for literature?
    – BobE
    Mar 20, 2020 at 1:47
  • Honestly, I would start at the beginning with something like this nytimes.com/2020/03/13/health/…
    – Carey Gregory
    Mar 20, 2020 at 4:10

4 Answers 4


Here are studies on viability at different temperature for similar viruses

enter image description here



Casanova LM et al. 2010, "Effects of air temperature and relative humidity on coronavirus survival on surfaces." This study on other similar viruses -- transmissible gastroenteritis virus and mouse hepatitis virus -- showed that those viruses persisted for as long as 28 days at 4 degrees C, and stayed activated at low humidity (20% RH). But inactivation was more rapid at warmer temperature, 20 deg C. At 40 degrees, both viurses were inactivated more rapidly. Humidity was different, as there was greater survival at high (80%). The Abstract: Assessment of the risks posed by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV) on surfaces requires data on survival of this virus on environmental surfaces and on how survival is affected by environmental variables, such as air temperature (AT) and relative humidity (RH). The use of surrogate viruses has the potential to overcome the challenges of working with SARS-CoV and to increase the available data on coronavirus survival on surfaces. Two potential surrogates were evaluated in this study; transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) were used to determine effects of AT and RH on the survival of coronaviruses on stainless steel. At 4 degrees C, infectious virus persisted for as long as 28 days, and the lowest level of inactivation occurred at 20% RH. Inactivation was more rapid at 20 degrees C than at 4 degrees C at all humidity levels; the viruses persisted for 5 to 28 days, and the slowest inactivation occurred at low RH. Both viruses were inactivated more rapidly at 40 degrees C than at 20 degrees C. The relationship between inactivation and RH was not monotonic, and there was greater survival or a greater protective effect at low RH (20%) and high RH (80%) than at moderate RH (50%). There was also evidence of an interaction between AT and RH. The results show that when high numbers of viruses are deposited, TGEV and MHV may survive for days on surfaces at ATs and RHs typical of indoor environments. TGEV and MHV could serve as conservative surrogates for modeling exposure, the risk of transmission, and control measures for pathogenic enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV and influenza virus, on health care surfaces.



For the sake of completeness: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 (dated March 17 2020) from New England Journal of Medicine


A novel human coronavirus that is now named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (formerly called HCoV-19) emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and is now causing a pandemic.1 We analyzed the aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 and compared it with SARS-CoV-1, the most closely related human coronavirus.2

We evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 in aerosols and on various surfaces


UPDATE: According to:Lancet April 2 2020

The concentration of SARS-COV-2 decayed thusly:enter image description here

To my non-professional eye it appears that at 72F the concentration of SARS-COV-2 decayed by (approximately) 50% after 72 hours.

When the same experiment was carried at at 99F the concentration decayed by 50% in 24 hours.

The same experiment when carried out at 133 F, the concentration decayed by 50% in 10 minutes.

The layperson's conclusion: Extraordinary heating conditions (greater than 100 F) will be required to decay the virus in a reasonable time period (less than 24 hours).

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