Educational news

Could you become infected from just a single particle of coronavirus?

Some people are thinking about the number of viruses they will pick before they contract this novel virus into their systems.

There’s a certain amount of viral particle that you need to be exposed to become infected. If you just had one viral particle on your finger, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be infected.

Some viruses are very potent, you only need like 10 particles to get infected, while others you may need millions. The fewer viral particles you’re exposed to, the less likely you’re going to get infected. That’s why the amount of viruses on a surface is important.

The virus is pretty stable on [materials] like plastic and steel – they can persist for a few days. So it’s very possible that someone who’s sick will deposit the virus on to the surface and then somebody else will touch it and touch their face.

I would recommend that any time something new comes into your household, be conscious of washing your hands after handling it.

The virus needs many other components to be intact. If you have bits and pieces of RNA, that’s not going to make a virus, you need an entire intact genome. Just because you had a little piece of RNA doesn’t mean that there’s an infection. (Editor’s note: RNA, or ribonucleic acid, carries the virus’s genetic information.)