Are the Antimicrobial Properties of Copper Too Good to be True?

That was the question asked at a recent Research Conference and the answer, provided by Professor Marc Solioz of Russia’s Tomsk State University, was an emphatic ‘no’.

In fact, his presentation showed that the antimicrobial properties of copper could actually potentially be improved.

He presented results of laboratory research from around the world which unanimously showed that pathogens coming into contact with a copper surface, such as a door handle or light switch, were rapidly destroyed.

Contact killing by copper has been demonstrated for at least 90 bacterial species, 30 types of fungi and 20 different viruses.

The presentation also showed that practical applications of copper achieved >80% reduction in bacteria on antimicrobial copper touch surfaces and a 58% reduction of healthcare associated infections in an intensive care unit. The latter was achieved by replacing 6 key touch surfaces in the rooms with antimicrobial copper equivalents.

The superpower of copper has also been recognized in Poland where their National Centre for Quality Assessment in Healthcare has presented Europe’s first official recommendation that antimicrobial copper touch surfaces be incorporated as an infection prevention and control measure in healthcare facilities.

Under the new guidelines, Healthcare facilities applying for accreditation may be granted between three and five points for installing copper surfaces.

Copper is now also being used to help reduce the spread of infection between children and staff by childcare nurseries in Greece, where two Athens based facilities are replacing frequently touched surfaces with antimicrobial copper.

As a result, 32 other schools in the region are now also looking at carrying out the same project to curtail the spread of disease causing bacteria.

These exciting projects are further evidence that Copper is a true wonder metal which continues to play an invaluable role whether it’s killing bacteria, reducing energy costs or reducing the carbon footprint.