Covid-19: Sharing sports equipment 'low risk'

Jane McGuire
·2-min read
Photo credit: Tony Anderson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tony Anderson - Getty Images

From Runner's World

  • A study led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine applied live Covid-19 particles to various sports equipment to test how long the virus lived on each surface.

  • The study concluded the risk of Covid-19 transmission from sharing equipment is 'lower than once thought'.

  • The study has not been peer-reviewed.

Researchers, led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine applied live coronavirus particles to nine different types of sporting equipment and a control material to evaluate the risk of transmission. A low dose and a high dose of coronavirus was applied to a cricked glove, a football, a golf ball, a piece of gym pit foam, a horse saddle, both red and white cricket balls, a rugby ball and a tennis ball. The control material was a piece of stainless steel.

The various surfaces were swabbed after one minute, five minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 90 minutes to determine whether the virus could be transferred via the equipment at time points that were relevant to the sport in question.

The researchers found the virus was least transferrable on absorbent materials, such as the cricket glove and tennis balls and most transferrable on non-porous materials like rugby balls and horse saddles.

The study found that when the low dose was applied, the virus was recoverable on seven out of the ten items after one minute and only one (the horse saddle) after five minutes. None of the ten items showed detectable levels of coronavirus after 15 minutes.

When the high dose was applied, the virus was recoverable on nine out of the ten items (all except the cricket glove) after one minute and five minutes. By 30 minutes it was recoverable on six out of ten items and by 90 minutes, it was still recoverable on the rugby ball and horse saddle.

The study, currently awaiting peer review, concluded that the 'mean recovery of the virus fell across all materials to 0.74% at one minute, 0.39% at 15 minutes and 0.003% at 90 minutes'.

The study also concluded, that 'it seems unlikely that sports equipment is a major cause for transmission of SARS-CoV-2'.

You Might Also Like