NEW YORK, June 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Coronaviruses are frequent in humans, causing illness of the upper and lower respiratory-tract systems, such as the common cold or pneumonia. While the majority of these viruses do not cause severe sickness, certain coronaviruses can be fatal, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which resulted in over 775 deaths in China from 2002-2003. Now, a new coronavirus, known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has taken the lives of 175 people in Saudi Arabia since 2012, has recently come to the U.S. with two cases reported in May.
Preliminary tests conducted by the Copper Development Association (CDA) in 2010, proved that solid copper alloys effectively inactivated the ATCC VR-740 strain 229E human coronavirus within 30 minutes. Researchers anticipate that copper will have a similar effect on the MERS coronavirus, since both are single-stranded, positive sense RNA, viral species.
Coronaviruses, such as MERS, are spread in the air by coughing and sneezing; close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands with an infected person; or touching contaminated objects or surfaces then touching one's mouth, nose or eyes. While risk can be reduced by taking preventative actions, such as frequent hand washing, the CDA's research shows that touch surfaces made of copper eliminate the human coronavirus upon contact and might be a real solution in decreasing MERS infections.
Laboratory tests conducted by Professor C. William Keevil and the University of Southampton in the U.K. have shown solid copper alloys to inactivate other viruses, including Influenza A and norovirus, reinforcing copper's unique and inherent ability to inactivate a broad range of viruses. In addition, it has been convincingly demonstrated in the published studies based upon Professor Keevil's research, that solid copper alloy surfaces kill a broad range of bacteria, including Clostridium difficile and its spores.
Recently, the CDA's research on copper's antimicrobial properties has moved from the laboratory to a clinical healthcare setting, where common patient touch surfaces have been replaced with solid copper alloy touch surfaces in three U.S. hospitals. The result has been a stunning 58% reduction in hospital-acquired infections in those participating Intensive Care Units (ICUs) by merely introducing copper alloy in surfaces frequently touched by patients and healthcare workers.*
* C. Salgado, et. al. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (ICHE), May 2013, Vol. 34., No 5
About the Copper Development Association
The Copper Development Association Inc. is the market development, engineering and information services arm of the copper industry, chartered to enhance and expand markets for copper and its alloys in North America. Learn more on our blog. Follow us on Twitter.
About Antimicrobial Copper
* Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, Antimicrobial Copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial Copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.
Ron X. Gumucio
SOURCE Copper Development Association