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Study finds low risk of COVID-19 transmission from cash

German scientists found that the transmission of the virus from contaminated coins or notes is “unlikely” and requires high viral loads

cash in a purse
Bank of England

Researchers from Ruhr-University Bochum who carried out experiments with bank notes and coins determined that the risk of catching COVID-19 from cash is low.

The study, which is published in iScience, highlighted that transmission of the virus through contaminated coins and banknotes is unlikely.

The authors added that transmission would require high viral loads and a timely order of specific events.

Experiments conducted by the scientists involved applying virus solutions in different concentrations to euro coins and banknotes and observing how long infectious virus was detectable.

The researchers found that infectious virus was present on the surface of cash for less time than it remained detectable on a stainless-steel control surface.

Tests designed to analyse how effectively the virus is transferred from a surface to the fingertip revealed that as soon as a solution containing infectious virus has dried, there was “practically no transmission” of infectious virus.

Dr Daniel Todt, from Ruhr-University Bochum, emphasised: "Under realistic conditions, infection with Sars-Cov-2 from cash is very unlikely."