MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Copper found to destroy norovirus

Scientists from the University of Southampton released findings on Monday that showed copper alloys are able to rapidly destroy the infectious, deadly norovirus.

The scientists conducted a study designed to simulate fingertip-touch contamination of surfaces. In this study, the scientists discovered that copper and its alloys were able to quickly destroy the norovirus.

"Copper alloys, although they provide a constant killing surface, should always be used in conjunction with regular and efficient cleaning and decontamination regimes using non-chelating reagents that could inhibit the copper ion activity," Sarah Warnes, the lead author from the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, said. "The use of antimicrobial surfaces containing copper in clinical and community environments, such as cruise ships and care facilities, could help to reduce the spread of this highly infectious and costly pathogen."

With copper and copper alloys containing over 60 percent copper, at room temperature, the results of quickly diminished norovirus was observed. This is not the case, however, for stainless steel dry surfaces. It was also noted that the higher the percentage of copper, the faster the norovirus was destroyed.

"Although the virus was identified over 40 years ago, the lack of methods to assess infectivity has hampered the study of the human pathogen," Bill Keevil, the paper's co-author, said. "The virus can remain infectious on solid surfaces and is also resistant to many cleaning solutions. That means it can spread to people who touch these surfaces, causing further infections and maintaining the cycle of infection. Copper surfaces, like door handles and taps, can disrupt the cycle and lower the risk of outbreaks."