London, United Kingdom, Sydney, Australia, Cape Town South Africa & Sioux Falls, USA – The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) today called out sensationalist media headlines reporting on a new scientific study by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness about how long the new coronavirus can survive on a variety of surfaces.
“The deliberate use of fear-mongering hyperbole in headlines like ‘Coronavirus May Stay for Weeks on Banknotes and Touchscreens’, such as has appeared in Bloomberg news, does a disservice to the CSIRO scientists trying to better understand how long the virus persists on surfaces,” commented Mike Lee, CEO of ATMIA, President of the ATM Security Association and Chairperson of the Consortium for Next Gen ATMs.
The findings on virus survival times on surfaces, including glass, stainless steel, vinyl, cotton and paper and polymer banknotes, were published in a report in Virology Journal. The surfaces were incubated at 20 °C, 30 °C and 40 °C respectively and the study showed that survival times plummeted at higher temperatures.
“Members of the public needn’t be alarmed by these headlines and should coolly assess all the available facts,” he added. “This research was literally carried out in the dark, because the study specified that the virus samples were not subject to any light at all, and were kept on the surfaces in a highly controlled laboratory setting, called a high containment laboratory, with fixed temperatures and humidity levels. The authors openly admitted that SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to be rapidly inactivated under simulated sunlight! This virus can’t survive sufficient exposure to light and higher temperatures. UV light is its enemy, as is heat and sanitisers.”
ATMIA is urgently seeking an explanation from the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness regarding the significant discrepancy between these lab conditions and the real world, with its greater numbers of variables and changing conditions which can affect outcomes.
“There was no attempt in this lab experiment to simulate real world conditions,” Lee stated, “This calls into question the true applicability of the research results. The last thing we need is a second spike in media misinformation to go along with a second spike in infections.”
Even though media reports can be overblown, as in this case of some reports on this recent new coronavirus study, the ATM Industry takes the threat of the new coronavirus seriously. Earlier this year, ATMIA published a new global ATM Hygiene Protocol which is aimed at providing ATM users with an added level of comfort. The industry association also launched an online hygiene showroom to showcase available products, services and industry best practices for any decontamination required on high-touch surfaces.
“Our industry has served the public responsibly for over half a century and will continue to do so, both during the pandemic and beyond,” Lee concluded.
Riddell et al. Virol J (2020 “The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces” https://doi.org/10.1186/s12985-020-01418-7 (Shane Riddell, Sarah Goldie, Andrew Hill, Debbie Eagles and Trevor W. Drew)