Athens, February 7, 2020
Coronavirus and Antimicrobial Copper
Report by the Scientific Consultant on Health Matters of the Hellenic Copper Development Institute.
Dr. Panos Efstathiou
Even though the World Health Organization has not officially declared a “pandemic” for the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the international awareness as well as the preventive measures being taken in order to eliminate its transmission are already a reality. The first evidence indicate low mortality but high transmission rates. The most important thing we have to do as far as the new virus is concerned is to determine how it is transmitted from man to man and to get to know all of its clinical signs and symptoms.
Approximately 20 years ago we got to know two other viruses from the coronavirus family, the SARS-CoV (2002- 2004) and the MERS-CoV (2012).
The Wuhan coronavirus or 2019-nCoV causes a respiratory disease that is in most cases serious and whose symptoms resemble those caused by the two other human coronaviruses mentioned above, the SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the MERS-CoV, otherwise known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. We must underscore the fact that the 2019-nCoV uses the same cell receptor as the SARS-CoV. It is, therefore, possible that the 2019-nCoV will behave more like the SARS-CoV; it will adjust to the human environment and will eventually spread systematically.
Antimicrobial Copper’s action is already known as is the reduction of microbes and viruses up to 95% on its surfaces. Moreover, is has been proven, both in in vitro as well as in vivo studies, that copper ions have antivirus properties by reducing and eventually eliminating infectious types of respiratory viruses.
More specifically, regarding copper’s antimicrobial properties, it is worth mentioning a research study by Professor William Keevil (Center for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, United Kingdom) titled “Human Coronavirus 229E Remains Infectious on Common Touch Surface Materials” (American Society for Microbiology 2015 6 (6): e01697 – 15).
In the aforementioned study, Professor Keevil reports the fast reduction of Human Coronavirus 229E strains (which were responsible for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) when they come into contact with antimicrobial copper surfaces as opposed to when they come into contact with plastic or stainless steel surfaces, where they remain intact.
Moreover, it was observed that the Human Coronavirus 229E was quickly eliminated and that its contact with a specific copper – nickel alloy destroyed viral RNA and severely affected its morphology leading to its decomposition and to the scattering of the edges ofits surface. Copper ions Cu (I) and Cu (U) were responsible for this result!
The copper – nickel alloy has already been used to produce the first Animicrobial Digital Thermometer, “Alpha Check”, which has received international acclaim and awards for its efficacy against the spreading of microbes.
In conclusion, the surfaces made from the aforementioned copper – nickel alloy in combination with effective cleaning measures and proper clinical practice, can help to control the transmission of respiratory coronaviruses.