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

Obama addresses West Africans on facts about Ebola

9 hours ago

President Barack Obama urged West Africans on Tuesday to wear gloves and masks when caring for Ebola patients or burying anyone who died of the disease. He also discouraged the traditional burial practice ...

Gluten-free diet benefits asymptomatic EmA+ adults

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Asymptomatic individuals with endomysial antibodies (EmA) benefit from a gluten-free diet (GFD), according to a study published in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

Another US health worker infected with Ebola

9 hours ago

A third American health worker has tested positive for the Ebola virus while working with patients in West Africa, the Christian missionary group SIM said Tuesday.

UN implores all countries to help on Ebola

11 hours ago

The international group Doctor Without Borders warned Tuesday that the world is 'losing the battle' against Ebola, while U.N. officials implored all countries to quickly step up their response by contributing health experts ...

Travel restrictions could worsen Ebola crisis: experts

16 hours ago

Travel restrictions could worsen West Africa's Ebola epidemic, limiting medical and food supplies and keeping out much-needed doctors, virologists said Tuesday as the disease continued its deadly spread.

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 ?