Copper surfaces could inactivate Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

A study by the Copper Development Association in May showed that hospitals that replaced common patient-touched surfaces with copper decreased their hospital-acquired infections by 58 percent.

Solid copper alloys have been shown to effectively inactivate the ATCC VR-740 strain 229E human coronavirus within 30 minutes.

Coronaviruses are a common cause of upper and lower respiratory-tract system infections, including Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). They are spread in the air, by coughing, and through close personal contact with infected persons or contaminated objects or surfaces.

It is expected that copper will have similar effects on the MERS coronavirus as with the ATCC VR-740 strain 299E, as both are single-stranded positive sense RNA viral species.

Tests by the University of Southampton and Professor C. William Keevil showed that solid copper alloys could inactivate viruses such as Influenza A and norovirus. His research also showed that a solid copper alloy surface kills a broad range of bacteria.

The Copper Development Association is chartered by the copper industry to develop engineering and information services and to enhance and expand markets for copper and its alloys in North America.

Studies of copper have shown that copper services kill more than 99.9 percent of MRSA Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE), E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter aerogenes, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, within two hours of exposure.