Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Copper could help prevent the spread of flu infections

02.02.2006


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.


In the research, Professor Keevil notes that the H1N1 strain tested is nearly identical to the H5N1 (avian) strain and that the effectiveness of copper’s antimicrobial properties should be nearly identical as well. He explains that, while vaccines stimulate host antibodies to target specific exposed cell surface structures (epitopes), copper’s antimicrobial action probably attacks the overall structure of the virus and therefore has a broad-spectrum effect.

These results are ‘consistent with the demonstrated antimicrobial effects of copper cited in published studies on E. coli O157:H7, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (the superbug, MRSA) and Listeria,’ said Professor Keevil, adding that similar antimicrobial efficacy may be achieved by the infusion of copper ions into fabrics, filters or other materials. However, such applications may have diminished effectiveness over time, because the amount of copper in such materials is much less than in solid copper alloys.

Suggesting it would be worthwhile to consider using uncoated copper or high-copper alloys, such as many brasses and bronzes, for common-touch surfaces to help minimise cross-contamination, Professor Keevil said: ‘Door knobs and handles, push plates, countertops, sinks and other frequently-touched hardware in healthcare and other public facilities are prime candidates for use of copper alloys to help control the spread of infection.’

The Southampton research was sponsored by the Copper Development Association (CDA) in the USA and the International Copper Association.

Sarah Watts | alfa
Further information:
http://www.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>