For thousands of years, before people knew about bacteria or viruses, people had known the disinfection properties of copper, and the antiviral ability of copper was even known to ancients. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on plastic or metal for several days. But it will decompose soon after falling on the copper surface. A report shows that the new type of coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic can survive on glass and stainless steel for several days, but will die within a few hours after falling on copper.
Keevil is a microbiology researcher at the University of Southampton in the UK and has been studying the antibacterial effects of copper for more than 20 years. In the laboratory, he witnessed this simple metal killing one harmful bacteria after another. He started with the bacteria that caused Legionnaires’ disease, and then turned to drug-resistant and lethal infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). He tested viruses that cause health scares worldwide, such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the 2009 swine flu (H1N1). In each case, copper contact can kill the pathogen within minutes.
In 2015, Keevil turned his attention to the 229E coronavirus, a relative of the COVID-19 virus that causes the common cold and pneumonia. Copper once again wiped out the virus in a few minutes, while the virus remained infectious for 5 days on surfaces such as stainless steel or glass.
As early as 1600 BC, the Chinese used copper coins as medicines for heart disease, stomach pain and bladder disease. The Phoenicians sailing at sea inserted carvings on their bronze swords into battle wounds to prevent infection. For thousands of years, women have known that when their children drink water from a copper container, they will not have frequent diarrhea, and this knowledge is passed on to future generations.
And the energy of copper is very lasting, this material is durable and the antibacterial effect will not disappear! Even if it loses its luster, its characteristics will not disappear. According to research, heavy metals including gold and silver have antibacterial effects, but the special atomic composition of copper gives it additional killing power. The outer shell of copper has a free electron, which can easily participate in the oxidation-reduction reaction (which also makes the metal a good conductor). It became a “molecular oxygen grenade”. Silver and gold have no free electrons, so their reactivity is weak.
When microorganisms fall on copper, ions bombard pathogens like missiles, prevent cell respiration, perforate cell membranes or virus coatings, and generate free radicals to accelerate their killing, especially on dry surfaces. Most importantly, these ions will find and destroy the DNA and RNA inside bacteria or viruses, preventing the mutation of drug-resistant super bacteria.
Can the use of copper alloys on frequently touched surfaces reduce hospital infections?
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (Centers for Disease Control), on any given day, 1 in 31 hospitalized patients has at least one medically-related infection. The 43-month survey showed that the copper alloy on the surface of the hospital including bedside armrests, folding tables, intravenous injection rods and chair armrests was studied. Compared with the conventional infection program, the infection was reduced by 58%.
In a two-year study, plastic beds and copper beds in intensive care units were compared. In nearly 90% of the samples, the rails on the plastic bed exceeded the acceptable risk standards, while only 9% of the rails on the copper bed exceeded these standards. This data once again shows that copper can keep the building environment clean and not affected by microorganisms. But if the copper alloy you use has been working, you still need to clean the environment. ”
In fact, only 10% of the surface is installed with copper to prevent infection. At present, many hospitals use copper-infused bedding, and copper is also widely used in public transportation systems. If copper can eliminate COVID-19, will it cause your attention?