Sydney: Did you disinfect your cellphone? If not, do it now. Cellphones can act as ‘Trojan horses’ for coronaviruses, warn researchers, urging billions of users around the world to decontaminate their devices every day.
While all research predates the current pandemic, the authors say that the virus responsible for COVID-19 – SARS-CoV-2 – may be present on cellphones and other touch screen devices of coronavirus sufferers.
The study, led by Associate Professor Lotti Tajouri from Bond University in Australia, reviewed 56 studies from 24 countries and found cellphones that host a large number of live germs.
“Our recommendation is that cell phones must be decontaminated daily and regularly with 70 percent isopropyl or by cleaning with (ultraviolet) devices such as PhoneSoap,” a study published in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases, said.
A systematic review found that gold staph and E. coli microbes were among the most common bugs in cellphones.
According to the researchers, the mobile device is ‘a five-star hotel with a heated spa, free buffet for microbes to flourish’.
“They have temperature control, we store them in our pockets, we are addicted, we talk to them and store drops that can be full of viruses, bacteria – you name it.” We eat with them, so we provide nutrition for micro-organisms, “Tajouri said.
“And nobody – absolutely nobody – washed or decontaminated their cellphones,” Tajouri added.
He said people were traveling with their cellphones “and there were no border officers checking them. This must have caused biological safety problems.
“That’s why cellphones are Trojan horses. We didn’t know that we were carrying enemies,” he said.
Dr Tajouri said super cellphone users touch their devices up to 5000 times a day and even the average user handles them an average of three hours a day.
According to the researchers, community transmission can occur when an infected person touches their telephone and then a pole on a bus that is caught by parents.
“Extremely fast transmission that makes scientists confused might be in cell phones that spread COVID-19 everywhere with ultra speed,” said Dr Tajouri.
Let’s take this hypothesis seriously. If we clean our cellphones every day and this makes a difference then we might with this small action curve down the COVID-19 epidemic and save lives, the researchers said.
In March, speaking with IANS, doctors in India suggested that in addition to washing hands routinely, someone should also disinfect their smartphone every 90 minutes with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
“In times of fear of coronaviruses, smart phones must also be disinfected with rubbing alcohol rubbing. Pour a few drops of cleaner on clean small cotton swabs and rub them safely all over your cellphone,” Jyoti Mutta, Senior Consultant, Microbiology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute in New Delhi, say.
This story has been published from a wire agent feed without modification to the text. Only the headline has been changed.