UV radiation is known to degrade most viruses rather quickly. How does the UV radiation from sunlight affect the longevity of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces.

Of particular interest to me is the virus' lifespan on gas pump handles, which are typically in covered but open spaces.

  • $\begingroup$ Please see here. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Mar 18, 2020 at 9:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @David Thank you for the links, though they do not answer the question. There was one FAQ question om the WHO which pointed out that UV light should not be used to sterilize skin, but that's because it irritates the skin rather than due to its effectiveness. Another article from NIH points to it lasting hours-to-days on surfaces, but does not state any effect of UV. I had seen both articles in doing research before posting, although I have to admit that was quite the nice collection of COVID-19 links! $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Mar 18, 2020 at 14:25

2 Answers 2


I have no data on SARS-CoV-2 specifically, but for SARS-CoV UV radiation is an effective method of eliminating viral infectivity:

Irradiation of UV for 60 min on the virus in culture medium resulted in the destruction of viral infectivity at an undetectable level.

CONCLUSION: The survival ability of SARS coronavirus in human specimens and in environments seems to be relatively strong. Heating and UV irradiation can efficiently eliminate the viral infectivity.


Yes, UV light is effective in killing all the viral and bacterial cells. And it is believed that UV-C will be effective in disinfecting SARS-CoV2 which is responsible for Covid 19, as earlier it is reported that UV-C disinfection can degrade viruses which are similar to SARS-CoV2 virus (like SARS-CoV1 and MARS-CoV).

But, the effectiveness of UV disinfection is dependent upon exposure time and intensity. So, sunlight could not disinfect the gas pump handles which are not directly exposed to sunlight. Effect of heat due to sunlight is another factor which may be responsible to inhibit virus growth.

(Via: http://www.iuva.org/COVID-19)


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