Recent events has triggered an renewed interest in understanding how a virus is able to stay on a surface.

For sake of argument, let's assume we are dealing with a Corona-type virus. One can then speculate that a virus sticks to a (non organic) surface due to a London-force (a Van der Waals force) interaction between the surface and the virus Spike S protein. But I really have no idea and it's just a wild guess.

I'm looking for research and experiments on this topic but I can't find any, most likely because I am not asking Google the right question or using the correct biology language.

How does a virus stay attached to a non-biological surface?
(Are there any "stickiness" measures for this?)

PS. When I say non-biological, I mean glass, metal and plastic.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It might be useful to look into studies that have been done into colocalization of viruses and bacteria on (organic) biofilms (e.g., ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4993353). $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2020 at 1:19
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ The virus never appears isolated. When it is distributed by droplets or feces that is the transportation medium. And those are sticky by them selfes. $\endgroup$
    – aggsol
    Feb 24, 2020 at 8:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @aggsol do aerosol droplets last days attached to surfaces even when said surface appears dry? Is it microscopic? $\endgroup$
    – larry909
    Mar 13, 2020 at 22:40


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