REALM Project

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Test 6 results, updated toolkit resources and raw data sets published


As part of the REALM project’s research, Battelle has conducted six natural attenuation studies to provide information on how long the infectious virus may survive on materials common to archives, libraries, and museums. Spread of COVID-19 virus via contaminated objects (also called fomites) is not currently believed to be a primary method of transmission, but additional research is needed to better understand this route of transmission. 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 6 included the following items:

Item Material type Use
Glass Glass Windows, doors, display cases
Marble Danby marble
Flooring, counters, columns
Laminate Laminate with particle board backing Countertops
260 brass
Fixtures, railings
Powder-coated steel
Powder-coated steel
Lockers, shelving, book trucks, exhibit elements

The marble was provided by the National Park Service, the laminate was provided by Metropolitan New York Library Council, and the powder-coated steel was provided by the Library of Congress. The other materials were procured as samples from vendors.

All five materials in Test 6 are nonporous surfaces, where suitable liquid disinfection methods may promote a more rapid decontamination than the quarantine method. View the list of disinfectants and surface cleaners that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.

The results of the sixth round of testing were released on November 19, 2020.

Read the full Test 6 results

Data files

The raw data sets from the first five REALM laboratory tests are now available. These data sets include details on the amount of virus detected on each test coupon on each day of testing and charts illustrating the virus attenuation for each material tested. The test data is provided to support analysis by other researchers.

Browse the research

Toolkit resources

The REALM project toolkit resources have been updated with Test 6 results, new graphics, and a visual interpretation of the Phase 2 literature review. These downloadable files can be used to share the REALM results and in discussions about the development and evolution of policies and procedures connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Browse the resources




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