The trend toward digital, touchless payment, versus the use of banknotes, increased tremendously during COVID-19 pandemic. This is understandable, considering that previous research tells that handling currency can indeed make us ill. Yet a recent research study into virus transmissibility via banknotes concludes that this may be less of a concern in the case of COVID-19.

To determine how easily a person can contract Sars-CoV-2 (coronavirus) from handling cash, the European Central Bank collaborated with the Department of Medical and Molecular Virology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) in a targeted research study, Banknote Industry News reports. The study was published in the journal iScience on 26 July 2021 and yields some reassuring—and—surprising results.

Professor Eike Steinmann and Dr. Daniel Todt, along with their research team, developed a method to test how many infectious virus particles can be transferred from cash to the skin in real-life transaction conditions.

ISCIENCE, Journal Pre-proof, 102908. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2021.102908

In the study, various euro banknotes were treated with virus solutions of different concentrations. The notes were observed over several days to test how long each infectious virus remained detectable. In all cases, a stainless-steel surface served as a control. The results: Even though the infectious Sars-CoV-2 virus was still present on the stainless-steel surface after seven days, on the 10-euro banknote, it took only three days to completely disappear. 

Conclusion: Under conditions that replicate real-life cash transactions, the risk of contracting Sars-Cov-2 from cash is very low.

Sources:

Banknote Industry News

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