Antimicrobial copper research and applications in Greece

The Halcor Group is a member of the Hellenic Copper Development Institute (HCDI) and is working in partnership with the HCDI to support scientific research and applications for antimicrobial copper in Greece. These include the following:

  • The installation of copper doorknobs and banisters at two school primary education buildings (housing a total of five primary education school units) of “Filekpaideftiki Etaireia – Arsakeio” (at the areas of Ekali and Psyhiko) as an additional effective measure to stop the spread of dangerous bacteria in schools. According to the results of a study carried out by the scientific team of the HCDI in collaboration with the Biopathology Laboratory of “Aretaieio” University Hospital of Athens, application of antimicrobial copper in these educational facilities, showed significant reduction of microbial flora. This resulted in a reduction of epidemiological data regarding the flu-like syndrome, infection (common flu), during the school year of 2011 – 2012. The use of Antimicrobial Copper alloys for the protection of public health provides some encouraging results: when combined with basic methods to prevent the spread of infections (hand sanitation, etc.), Antimicrobial Copper significantly reduces the spread of bacteria and viruses. The results of the study show that the number of bacterial loads found on surfaces where Antimicrobial Copper was newly applied or where it replaced other materials (doorknobs, protective bars, push surfaces) dropped considerably.
  • The installation of Antimicrobial Copper bed frames, as well as handrails, doorknobs and banisters at the “Attikon” University General Hospital of Greece, is marked as the first Antimicrobial Copper implementation at hospital units of the NHS. The studies conducted by the scientific team of the HCDI and the doctors of « Attikon » University General Hospital, showed significant reduction of microbial flora in its ICU.
  • The installation of Antimicrobial Copper handles, knobs, touch surfaces, push bars, food trays, offices of doctors and heads nurses, as well as at the ICU of “Peiraiko Hospital » in Piraeus, resulted also to the significant reduction of microbial flora in the specific ICU. The scientific team of HCDI conducted also a financial study to monitor the positive impacts of the operation of this ICU. The results demonstrated a significant operating cost reduction at the ICU after the application of antimicrobial copper.
  • The world’s first Antimicrobial Copper plating at a neonatal ICU was completed in September 2012 at « Agia Sofia » Children’s Hospital of Athens. In section B of the ICU of the hospital, the existing handles, knobs, push surfaces , touch surfaces, food trays as well as doctors and head nurses offices were replaced and plated with Antimicrobial copper. The results show the significant reduction of the microbial flora in the specific ICU.
  • The world’s first-ever industrial production and installation of antimicrobial copper air vents in a 3,000 space, located in Maroussi, Attica. 10 tones of copper were used for the development of a modern ventilation and air conditioning system of high aesthetics, that promotes a healthier working environment. The project was carried out as an initiative of the HCDI, aiming to create a model installation which would highlight the salutary value of clean air for the sustainability of a business, while adding an innovative touch to the design of the workplace. Even though infections at the workplace have not been scientifically proven yet, the impact of copper on bacteria found in ventilation and air conditioning systems is drastic.
  • At The Embrace – a non-profit facility in Athens, Greece that supports and cares for pregnant women in difficult circumstances – providing a safe and comfortable environment for women and their new babies is of paramount importance.  Hygiene and infection prevention are at the forefront of their service, and now antimicrobial copper touch surfaces are augmenting existing sanitation procedures.

Copper is inherently antimicrobial.  On contact, disease-causing pathogens are quickly and completely eradicated.  Copper shares this benefit with many alloys – including brass and bronze – which are collectively termed ‘antimicrobial copper’.  Touch surfaces made from antimicrobial copper consistently harbour significantly fewer germs than other surfaces, contributing to a more hygienic environment.

Antimicrobial copper items – such as taps, IV drip poles and bedrails – are already used in healthcare settings across the world to reduce the spread of infections.  Now, following a campaign to bring the remarkable properties of antimicrobial copper to areas beyond healthcare, an association offering care and support to pregnant women is protecting its vulnerable patients with more hygienic touch surfaces.

  • An Innovative ally secured the 2nd Vari and 4th -Voula Municipality Kindergarten (South part of Athens) on the battle against infections, replacing the metal contact surfaces with respective antimicrobial copper.

    With this application students and teachers ensured a healthy environment by reducing the microbial flora that potential lies in the contact surfaces.

    The assessment for the application of antimicrobial copper was made by the scientific team of the Hellenic Copper Development Institute (HCDI), which evaluated the spaces and objects that had to be replaced with those of antimicrobial copper in order to reduce the microbial load and to register the respective spaces as antimicrobial.

    For the survey, a specific sampling of microbial load, has been taken before and after the replacement, by the scientific team of HCDI.

    The results provided by HCDI certified Microbiology Laboratory of Aretaieion Hospital University of Athens Medical School, which the microbial flora before and after the copper plating, showed a reduction over than 90%.

    According to these results the specific areas have taken a certification approval, as antimicrobial.
  • The items were decided by Hellenic Copper Development Institute  (HCDI) Scientific team, was Grips, Power Switches, Sockets, Handles cabinets, single and double taps. The above applications realized in Greece, have been presented in global and Greek conferences and scientific papers have been issued respectively. In the References below, the major announcements are quoted.

    The Intensive Care Unit of Volos Hospital Achillopoulio , continuing its successful efforts to reduce infections in ICU rooms, decided to install antimicrobial copper items in specific areas according to the Hellenic Copper Development Institute scientific team’s specified protocol, in order to strengthen their defenses against hospital-acquired infections. It is the first time that antimicrobial copper items have been installed in an ICU room, following the tender procedure by the appointing authority, where the technical description in the context of upgrading facilities (CPV 452599900-6), was entirely based on scientific documentation of the Hellenic Copper Development Institute.

    Hospital Commander Dr. Matthew Dramitinos praised the work done in the ICU, stating that « … in the ICU a reduction in pharmaceutical expenditure was observed as a result of the reduction of hospital infections. ICU Hospital Director Dr. Antigone Karathanou, said among other things, that the average of nosocomial infections in Greece is 9% and In Europe 6%, stressing that since 2014 there has been a new legislative framework that determines how monitoring, recording and prevention of nosocomial infections.

    The ICU of the Hospital of Volos, recorded infections in 2014 and subsequently applied updated protocols. In early 2016 they found dramatic results. A significant reduction in absolute numbers of hospital infections by 33%, while a decrease was observed in days of hospitalization and in pharmaceutical expenditure.

    The ICU operation completes 25 years and was the first in Thessaly (North region of Greece). Continuing its leadership, the ICU of Volos Hospital in Thessaly, and knowing that so far at national level there are still 10 scientific files for antimicrobial copper installations pending in various hospitals in Greece, antimicrobial copper Installation completed, and scientific research will follow, expecting results in 2 years period.

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