Copper shown to inhibit respiratory virus transmission
Coronaviruses in animals are able to spread to humans, causing serious infections and high death rates. The scientists used a related human coronavirus called 229E to find that the virus stayed infectious when it was placed on common surface materials for multiple days. When the virus was placed on copper, it was quickly destroyed.
"Transmission of infectious diseases via contaminated surfaces is far more important than was originally thought, and this includes viruses that cause respiratory infections,” lead researcher Sarah Warnes said. “This is especially important when the infectious dose is low and just a few virus particles can initiate an infection.
Even though transmission between humans does occur and is a health concern, viruses can also be transmitted when people touch various surfaces that have been contaminated by people who have infections.
"Respiratory viruses are responsible for more deaths, globally, than any other infectious agent,” Bill Keevil, co-author and chair in environmental healthcare at the University of Southampton, said. “The evolution of new respiratory viruses, and the re-emergence of historic virulent strains, poses a significant threat to human health.”