REALM Project Test 3 Results Available

OCLC / 18 August 2020

As part of the REALM project’s research, Battelle has conducted three 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) and relative humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent). The materials in Test 3 included the following items:

Item Material type Use
Talking book, USB cassette* Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), specific blend Cartridges are used in talking book readers available through the National Library Services for the Blind and Disabled
DVD** Polycarbonate Digital data storage (also includes CDs). Note: A polypropylene DVD case was tested in Test 1;
Storage bag (flexible plastic)** Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), recycling #4 Storage, library and museum kits, gift shop packaging
Storage container (rigid plastic)** High-density polyethylene (HDPE), recycling #2 Transporting and storage of items
Plexiglass*** Acrylic Display cases, partitions

Results show that after five days of quarantine in an unstacked configuration, the SARS-CoV-2 virus was not detected on the storage bag (flexible plastic) or the DVD. The storage container (rigid plastic), plexiglass, and the USB cassette all showed detectable virus at five days. Day five was the final timepoint tested.

Compared to the results of Test 1 and 2, this data suggests that a slightly longer quarantine time for these types of plastic-based materials may be required to render SARS-CoV-2 undetectable through natural attenuation alone. Alternatively, based on the materials’ nonporous nature, suitable liquid disinfection methods may promote a more rapid decontamination than the quarantine method.*

Download the Test 3 Report [PDF]

*The CDC and EPA provide general cleaning and disinfecting guidance. Some cleaning agents and disinfection solutions may damage surfaces and materials; see, for example, exhibit and collection cleaning guidance from the National Park Service.