Study Shows Antimicrobial Copper Touch Surfaces Pay for Themselves in Less than Two Months in an ICU Trial

HERD Health Environments Research and Design Journal

The translational paper – From Laboratory Research to a Clinical Trial: Copper Alloy Surfaces Kill Bacteria and Reduce Hospital-Acquired Infections, published in Health Environments Research & Design Journal – explores copper's efficacy from laboratory research to a clinical trial, focusing on the multi-centre US trial that found an 83% reduction in bacteria on copper surfaces and a corresponding 58% reduction in patient infections in rooms equipped with copper components.

21st July 2015

The paper examines the cost difference between the copper items fabricated for the clinical trial and the cost of standard components, and compares it with a lower-end cost for treating an HCAI. In the researchers' calculations, the time taken to recoup the extra cost of the copper items by reduced infections and associated costs is 44.2 days.

This supports the findings of York Health Economics Consortium – based at the University of York – which developed a model using data from the US clinical trial, but with UK figures for component and infection costs. The YHEC model showed a return on investment within two months, and is available for download here.

Copper is a powerful antimicrobial with rapid, broad-spectrum efficacy against bacteria and viruses, including MRSA, E.coli and norovirus. It shares this benefit with a range of copper alloys – such as brasses and bronzes – forming a family of materials collectively called 'antimicrobial copper'.

Touch surfaces made from solid antimicrobial copper are used by healthcare facilities around the world to reduce the spread of infections such as norovirus and MRSA, supporting key infection control measures such as good hand hygiene and frequent surface cleaning and disinfection.

For more information on antimicrobial copper, visit


For more information, contact:

Bryony Samuel
Communications Officer
Copper Development Association

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.

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