The current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has created a significant threat to global health. While respiratory aerosols or droplets are considered as the main route of human-to-human transmission, secretions expelled by infected individuals can also contaminate surfaces and objects, potentially creating the risk of fomite-based transmission.
Consequently, frequently touched objects such as paper currency and coins have been suspected as potential transmission vehicle. The experiments used banknotes in denominations of 5 to 50 € and coins in denominations of 5 cents to 1 €. A suspension of viral particles was applied to the surface of banknotes and coins, allowed to dry, and samples were taken for seven days to check the activity of the virus. On banknotes, the coronavirus remained infectious for 72 hours; on coins, it remained active for up to 48 hours. To assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by banknotes and coins, scientists examined the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and bovine coronavirus (BCoV), as surrogate with lower biosafety restrictions, on these different means of payment and developed a touch transfer method to examine transfer efficiency from contaminated surfaces to fingertips. Although scientists observed prolonged virus stability, their results indicate that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via contaminated coins and banknotes is unlikely and requires high viral loads and a timely order of specific events.