Even in the world of medicine, what is old is new again. Thousands of years ago, Egyptians used it to sterilize drinking water. Ancient Romans, Aztecs and Greeks also used it for medical treatments.
Bill Keevil is a microbiologist at Southampton University in Britain. He is investigating the properties of copper that kill germs, or as researchers call them,pathogens. Keevil points to studies that compare infection rates at U.S. hospitals that use copper surfaces and those that do not. “They found that copper alloys gave a 58 percent reduction in infection rate. So that showed, you know, that in the real world of a hospital environment, copper alloys do a great job in preventing infection.”
In a study published in the journal mBio, Keevil and his team found that copper surfaces can quickly kill the coronavirus 229E.
Bacteria, yeasts, and viruses are rapidly killed on metallic copper surfaces, and the term “contact killing” has been coined for this process. While the phenomenon was already known in ancient times, it is currently receiving renewed attention. This is due to the potential use of copper as an antibacterial material in health care settings. Contact killing was observed to take place at a rate of at least 7 to 8 logs per hour, and no live microorganisms were generally recovered from copper surfaces after prolonged incubation.More