Interactions of SARS-CoV-2 with inanimate surfaces in built and transportation environments

H Ghasemi and H Yazdani and EH Fini and Y Mansourpanah, SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND SOCIETY, 72, 103031 (2021).

DOI: 10.1016/j.scs.2021.103031

Understanding the interactions and transmission of pathogens with/via inanimate surfaces common in the built environment and public transport vehicles is critical to promoting sustainable and resilient urban development. Here, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used to study the adhesion of SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) to some of these surfaces at different temperatures (same for surfaces and ambiance) ranging from -23 to 60 degrees C. Surfaces simulated are aluminum, copper, copper oxide, polyethylene (PE), and silicon dioxide (SiO2). Steered MD (SMD) simulations are also used to investigate the transfer of the virus from PE and SiO2 when a contaminated surface is touched. The virus shows the lowest and highest adhesions to PE and SiO2, respectively (20 vs 534 eV). Influence of temperature is not found to be noticeable. Using simulated water molecules to represent moisture on the skin, SMD simulations show that water molecules can lift the virus from the PE surface but damage the virus when lifting it from the the SiO2 surface. The results suggest that the PE surface is a more favorable surface to transmit the virus than the other surfaces simulated in this study. The results are compared with those reported in a few experimental studies.

Return to Publications page