Testing Virus survival

There are a large number of claims about how the virus that causes covid-19 : the SARS-CoV-2 virus can or cannot survive under certain conditions

For example, can it survive in the sun, on metal, in water etc

Unlike testing for the presence of the virus – which is done with detection of viral RNA, testing for the viability of virus is very much more difficult. Most of the claims – if based on fact at all -are extrapolation from what is known for poliovirus – the standard test virus

To test SARS-CoV-2, it is necessary to culture the virus. consider the question “can the virus survive in swimming pool water?”

To test this we would put a known quantity of virus into standard swimming pool water, and then at some later stage attempt to grow the virus in a cell culture. It can be grown in the Vero-E6 line


and it is easy to see which cells have been killed by the virus.

Such sorts of tests need to be undertaken in a highly secure lab – so the virus cannot get out. Australia has only 3 such PC4 (Physical containment labs)


China has a few too – one in Wuhan