Research shows copper destroys norovirus

Research shows copper destroys norovirus
Copper handrail in use.

New research from the University of Southampton shows that copper and copper alloys will rapidly destroy norovirus - the highly-infectious sickness bug. The virus can be contracted from contaminated food or water, person-to-person contact, and contact with contaminated surfaces, meaning surfaces made from copper could effectively shut down one avenue of infection.

Worldwide, norovirus is responsible for more than 267 million cases of every year. There is no specific treatment or vaccine, and outbreaks regularly shut down hospital wards and care homes, requiring expensive deep-cleaning, incurring additional treatment costs and resulting in lost working days when staff are infected. Its impact is also felt beyond healthcare, with cruise ships and hotels suffering significant damage to their reputation when epidemics occur among guests.

Professor Bill Keevil, Chair in Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton and lead researcher, presented his work at the American Society for Microbiology's 2013 General Meeting last week. The presentation showed norovirus was rapidly destroyed on copper and its alloys, with those containing more than 60 per cent copper proving particularly effective. The contamination model used was designed to simulate fingertip-touch contamination of surfaces.

Research shows copper destroys norovirus
Copper handrail in use.

Professor Keevil from the University's Institute for Life Sciences says: " surfaces can be employed in high-risk areas such as and care homes, where norovirus outbreaks are hard to control because infected people can't help but contaminate the environment with vomiting and diarrhoea.

"The virus can remain infectious on and is also resistant to many cleaning solutions. That means it can spread to people who touch these surfaces, causing further infections and maintaining the cycle of infection. , like door handles and taps, can disrupt the cycle and lower the risk of outbreaks."

More information: www.antimicrobialcopper.org/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Copper reduces infection risk by more than 40 percent

Jul 01, 2011

Professor Bill Keevil, Head of the Microbiology Group and Director of the Environmental Healthcare Unit at the University of Southampton, has presented research into the mechanism by which copper exerts its ...

Recommended for you

Fatigue, fear are daily lot of Ebola fighters: experts

12 hours ago

Doctors, nurses and hospital workers fighting the Ebola epidemic in west Africa are struggling with a daily burden of exhaustion, shortage of staff and fear for themselves over the deadly virus, specialists say.

Hong Kong makes Ebola 'contingency' measures

15 hours ago

Hong Kong said Wednesday it was quarantining all people from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia who were showing Ebola-like symptoms on arrival in the city, as fears grow worldwide about the spread of the deadly virus.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Tom_Hennessy
not rated yet May 28, 2013
"Germs survived two hours on copper three days on stainless steel"

The real question is how did they manage to use stainless steel in hospitals ?