A study at the University of Southampton in the UK demonstrated that Influenza A was rapidly inactivated on copper alloy surfaces as a result of antimicrobial properties in the metal.
Synopsis of Methodology
Two-million Influenza A virus particles were measured and placed on copper and stainless steel coupons. The coupons were kept at room temperature and recovered after one-, six-, and 24-hour exposure times. Virus particles recovered from the coupons were counted under a microscope with the help of a fluorescent dye that illuminates viral particles that are still infectious.
- On stainless steel, 50% or one million virus particles remained viable after six hours of contact; and 500,000 of the virus particles were still capable of causing cell infection after 24 hours.
- On copper, the number of infectious virus particles was reduced by 75% to 500,000 after only one hour of contact, which is the equivalent of 24 hours on stainless steel. After six hours on copper, the number of infectious virus particles dropped to 500, a 99.99% reduction.
- The results suggest that materials which possess innate antiviral properties could act to prevent subsequent contamination.
Influenza A Facts
What is it?
Influenza A, also known as the flu or seasonal flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a viral pathogen.
How is it contracted?
- Information from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that influenza is transmitted from person-to-person contact or from touching contaminated surfaces.
- Previous studies have shown that once surfaces are contaminated, fingers can transfer virus particles to up to 7 other clean surfaces. • Influenza A virus is easily transferred from hands to surfaces and vice versa.
- Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and diarrhea (more common in children than adults).
Where is it prevalent?
- Influenza A can survive on a range of environmental surfaces, including stainless steel; thus good hand washing procedures are important to combat transmission.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are approximately 3 to 5 million cases of the flu and 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year.
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.