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Does microwaving kill the Novel Coronavirus?

Does microwaving kill the Novel Coronavirus?

Last Reviewed : 12/16/2020
Does microwaving kill the Novel Coronavirus?

Several disinfecting methods are very effective to kill Novel Coronavirus. Washing with soap and water is an effective way to inactivate Novel Coronavirus. There has been a lot of speculation if Coronavirus spreads through food and if microwaving food kills Novel Coronavirus.

There is no research done to see if microwaving food kills Novel Coronavirus. However, there were several research articles published to conclude microwaving is an effective way to kill bacteria and viruses. One study published in the Journal of Urology, urinary catheters were sterilized using microwave. Several bacteria like Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella, Proteus, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and yeast, like Candida species were included in the study. Mean sterilization time used in this study was 13 minutes.

According to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, microwaving for 30 seconds inactivated Hepatitis A virus. Similarly, there is evidence that human respiratory viruses such as rhinovirus, parainfluenzavirus, pneumovirus, adenovirus and herpes simplex virus can be inactivated after 1 minute of exposure to microwave. It required 4 minutes of microwave exposure for total destruction. In another study, two minutes of microwave inactivated both Hepatitis C virus and HIV virus. Inactivated virus is not infective anymore. Inactivated virus cannot replicate. Virus structure is altered to render it inactive. Total destruction is killing the virus completely.

Even though there are no research studies on Novel Coronavirus, based on the above evidence, it is obvious that microwaving is an effective technique to inactivate viruses and render them non-infective. Microwaves use radiofrequency energy that seems to work As most of the viruses are inactivated by microwaving 30 seconds to 1 minute, it may be safe to say that Novel Coronavirus may also fall into similar category. Microwaving food for about a minute may inactivate Novel Coronavirus as well. Effectiveness of microwaving also depends on the amount of food that is being heated. One serving microwaved for 1 minute may be considered safe. Further research may be needed for more clarification.

 

References:

  1. Silbar EC et al. Microwave sterilization: a method for home sterilization of urinary catheters. J Urol. 1989 Jan;141(1):88-90.
  2. Mishu B et al. Foodborne hepatitis A: evidence that microwaving reduces risk? J Infect Dis. 1990 Sep;162(3):655-8.
  3. Eff Siddharta A, Pfaender S, Malassa A, et al. Inactivation of HCV and HIV by microwave: a novel approach for prevention of virus transmission among people who inject drugs. Sci Rep. 2016;6:36619. Published 2016 Nov 18. doi:10.1038/srep36619
  4. Elhafi G, et al. Microwave or autoclave treatments destroy the infectivity of infectious bronchitis virus and avian pneumovirus but allow detection by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Avian Pathology (June 2004) 33(3), 303/306. https://doi.org/10.1080/0307945042000205874

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