International Copper Association, Ltd. (ICA) and its global network of Copper Centres, collectively known as the Copper Alliance, have been building expertise in the science and practical application of copper's antimicrobial properties for the last 20 years, establishing a solid foundation of compelling scientific evidence and experience.
The discovery of a hospital study by Kuhn, published in 1983, led ICA to support research into the antimicrobial efficacy of copper against the major pathogens threatening public health today, including MRSA, E. Coli, Influenza A, Clostridium difficile and Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecalis.
The rapid, broad spectrum antimicrobial efficacy of Antimicrobial Copper demonstrated in the laboratory led clinicians around the world (UK, US, Chile, China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Spain and South Africa) to put copper to the test in challenging clinical environments. The published results from these studies demonstrate that Antimicrobial Copper can significantly and continuously reduce environmental contamination, making it the material of choice for frequently touched surfaces in situations where hygiene is of paramount importance.
Copper Centres are now raising awareness among the infection control professionals, architects, designers, healthcare estates, facilities managers and policymakers to progress the adoption of Antimicrobial Copper technology for hospital hygiene applications.
Although this property of copper has been exploited for centuries, it is only recently that the scientific evidence has been published, and this has stimulated suppliers and manufacturers to develop products which harness the power of copper to break the chain of infection and to assist with infection prevention and control.
Copper Centres are non-profit organisations which work with industry and academia to discover, research and apply new and old copper technologies to solve modern problems. Copper Centres work directly with the companies that fabricate and produce copper materials and products, tapping into the experience of an entire industry, to implement copper-based solutions where they will provide a direct benefit to end-users.
Societal problems like Healthcare-Associated Infections are a global problem and Copper Centres work together and with ICA to help innovative solutions such as Antimicrobial Copper reach global markets.
Copper Centres are part of an international network of trade associations - funded by the copper industry - whose common mission is to defend and grow markets for copper, based on its superior technical performance and contribution to a higher quality of life. This network is unified by a common brand and visual identity: Copper Alliance. Under the strategic leadership of the International Copper Association, the Copper Alliance encompasses regional offices in Brussels, New York, Santiago and Shanghai. Its initiatives are executed in more than 50 countries through these and a further 31 Copper Centres.
Together, these are the organisations behind the brand.
Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.
Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.