REALM Project

REopening
Archives, Libraries,
and Museums

Research

As part of the REALM research, Battelle is conducting natural attenuation studies to provide information on how long the virus may survive on materials common to archives, libraries, and museums. The studies are conducted by applying the virulent SARS-CoV-2 virus on five materials (per test set) held at standard room temperature (68°F to 75°F) and relative humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent). Below are the results of tests completed to date.


Test 1 Results

22 June 2020

Five items commonly found in public libraries, which are also in high circulation and expected to arrive back in public libraries in large volumes, were selected for Test 1. The materials were provided by Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Download Test 1 results

Item Material Conditions Result
Hardback book cover Buckram book cover Testing was conducted by applying the virulent SARS-CoV-2 virus on five materials held at standard room temperature and humidity conditions. Items were laid flat. Results show that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detectable on the materials after three days of quarantine.
Softback book cover Trade paperback
Plain paper pages inside a closed book  --
Plastic book covering Biaxially oriented polyester film
DVD/CD case Polypropylene

Test 2 Results

20 July 2020

Materials were provided by Columbus Metropolitan Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress.

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Item Material Conditions Result
Archival folders -- Stacked Results show that after two days of quarantine, the virus was not detectable on the archival folders. After four days of quarantine, the virus was not detectable on the braille pages, glossy book pages, and board book. The magazine showed a trace amount of virus at four days. Day four was the final timepoint tested.
Glossy pages As found in coffee table books Stacked
Children’s board book -- Stacked, tested inside the book
Braille paper -- Stacked
Magazine pages -- Stacked

Test 3 Results

18 August 2020

For Test 3, five plastic-based items were selected. The materials were provided by Columbus Metropolitan Library, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress.

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Item Material Conditions Result
DVD Polycarbonate Unstacked Results show that after five days of quarantine the virus was not detectable on the storage bag or the DVD. The storage container, plexiglass, and the USB cassette all showed recoverable virus at five days. Day five was the final timepoint tested.
Storage bag Flexible plastic: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), recycling #4 Unstacked
USB cassette Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, specific blend Unstacked
Storage container Rigid plastic: High-density polyethylene (HDPE), recycling #2 Unstacked
Plexiglass Acrylic display cases and partitions Unstacked

Test 4 Results

2 September 2020

Four of the five items in Test 4 are similar book materials to Test 1, but in Test 4, these items were stacked to simulate their common storage configuration in bins and book drops and on shelves. The fifth item, expanded polyethylene foam, has not been tested previously and was done so in open-air conditions.

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Item Material Conditions Result
DVD/CD case Polypropylene Stacked 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.
Hardcover book cover Buckram cloth Stacked
Softcover book cover Trade paperback Stacked
Plastic protective cover Biaxially oriented polyester film Stacked
Expanded polyethylene foam 1-inch thickness Unstacked, open air

Test 5 Results

14 October 2020

For Test 5, four fabrics and leather—materials commonly used for bookbinding, upholstery, and crowd control—were selected. The materials were provided by the American Museum of National History, a private donation and through procurement from vendors.  

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Item Material Conditions Result
Leather book cover Leather (circa 1861) Unstacked Results show that after eight days of quarantine, SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on leather and synthetic leather materials. For the polyolefin fabric and nylon webbing, only the amount of virus after the initial 1 hour of drying time could be measured. No data for the cotton fabric could be collected or reported.
Synthetic leather Expanded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Unstacked
Polyolefin fabric 100% polyolefin Unstacked
Cotton fabric 100% cotton Unstacked
Nylon webbing Nylon weave Unstacked

Supporting documentation

Documentation for this project will be published as it becomes available. All REALM project materials are published under a Creative Commons Attribution- Non-Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 license.

Systematic literature review: Phase 2

October 14, 2020

Updating the Phase 1 review with new research on SARS-CoV-2 published between mid-May and mid-August 2020 on how the virus spreads, the lifespan of of the virus on materials, and effectiveness of various preventation and decontamination measures.  

Systematic literature review: Phase 1

June 17, 2020

Detailed literature review exploring the scientific research on SARS-CoV-2 published through mid-May 2020.

Preliminary literature review: Phase 1

June 3, 2020

The information helps to set the context for the laboratory research that is being conducted during the REALM project.

 

 

Test Plan for the Natural Attenuation of SARS-CoV-2 as a Decontamination Approach

June 3, 2020

Describes how the Battelle laboratory will test for the longevity of the COVID-19 virus on materials and how long it takes for the virus to naturally attenuate—essentially, how long the material needs to be left alone before the virus is undetectable.