SARS-CoV-2 (shown here in an electron microscopy image). Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH

The coronavirus remains active on human skin for nine hours, Japanese researchers have found, in a discovery they said showed the need for frequent hand washing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pathogen that causes the flu survives on for about 1.8 hours by comparison, said the study published this month in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal.

“The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with