As part of the REALM project’s research, Battelle has conducted four natural attenuation studies to provide information on how long the virus may survive on materials common to archives, libraries, and museums. The studies were conducted by applying the virulent SARS-CoV-2 virus on five materials held at standard room temperature (68°F to 75°F; 22±2°C) and relative humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent). The materials in Test 4 included the following items:
|Hardback book cover||Buckram cloth||Hardcover book covering|
|Softcover book cover||Coated paper
||Trade paperback cover
|Plastic protective cover||Biaxially oriented polyester film||Protective layer for hardcover books|
|DVD case||Polypropylene||Storage of DVD and CD media|
|Expanded polyethylene foam||1-inch expanded polyethylene foam
||Storage and shipping|
Results show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested. When compared to Test 1, which resulted in nondetectable virus after three days on an unstacked hardcover book, softcover book, plastic protective cover, and DVD case, the results of Test 4 highlight the effect of stacking and its ability to prolong the survivability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Based on the materials’ porous cellulose composition, liquid disinfection methods may not be suitable and may result in material degradation. Longer quarantine time can be considered; or, other methods such as application of heat may promote more rapid decontamination and may warrant further investigation. A literature review that will be available in October 2020 is exploring published research on the effect of heat, UV light, and other methods of disinfection. Organizations such as the Northeast Document Conservation Center have shared information on disinfecting materials for archives, libraries and museums.