November 18, 2020
Singapore study discovers possibility COVID-19 can survive in frozen chicken, pork, and fish
Local researchers in Singapore have found that the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is able to survive on frozen chicken, pork, fish in high amounts for as long as three weeks at refrigeration temperature, The Straits Times Singapore reported.
The study, which aims to test the virus' longevity and infectivity in refrigerated and frozen food, was co-led by Dr. Danielle Anderson from the Duke-NUS Medical School and Professor Dale Fisher from the National University of Singapore's Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
In the study, pieces of chicken, pork and salmon sourced from local supermarkers were infected with high amounts of the virus. The samples were stored at 4°C, -20°C and -80°C, then harvested at set time periods reflecting food transportation timelines.
The study found that the virus survived and remained infectious at 4°C, -20°C, which are refrigeration and freezer temperatures respectively, for three weeks. This means it is possible that the virus can survive logistics and storage, noting that while unlikely, an infected food handler could be an source COVID-19 case for an outbreak.
To further their study, the team has been awarded a research grant from the World Health Organisation. Lower amounts of the virus are currently being tested on food packaging to mirror a more "real, natural" situation where transmission happens through a COVID-19 positive worker contaminating the packaging or the food.
The study also aims to research the possibility of COVID-19 transmission through consuming food contaminated with the virus.
- The Straits Times Singapore