Copper could help prevent the spread of flu infections. Recent research at the University of Southampton shows that the Influenza A virus is virtually eradicated within six hours on copper surfaces. Influenza A viruses cause seasonal infections resulting in around 12,000 deaths a year in the UK1. The influenza A family of viruses includes the avian flu strain.
Professor Bill Keevil and Dr Jonathan Noyce, microbiology researchers at the University’s School of Biological Sciences, detail the findings in a study being prepared for submission for peer-reviewed publication later this year. Professor Keevil, who heads up the School’s Microbiology research group, explained: ‘The findings are so pertinent to the current concerns about containing a potential outbreak of the avian flu strain, that we felt it important to provide some of the preliminary results at this time.’
The Southampton researchers placed 2 million plaque-forming units of Influenza A (H1N1) on coupons of C11000 copper (common, pure copper sheet metal) and on S30400 (common stainless steel) at room temperature and then came back periodically to determine the survival rates of the samples. On the stainless steel surface, the pathogen declined to 1 million after six hours and to 500,000 after 24 hours. Meanwhile, the copper surface achieved a reduction to 500,000 after only one hour and inactivated all but 500 — a 99.99% reduction — after just six hours.
Sarah Watts | alfa
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