Copper may be the new disinfectant to fight microbial infections, says a new British study.
In an experiment at a busy Birmingham teaching hospital, researchers exchanged traditional toilet seats, tap-handles and a ward door push-plate for similar items made from 70 percent copper. They found that the copper articles had 90-100 percent less bacteria than the non-copper surfaces.
Similar results were obtained from a primary healthcare facility in the Western Cape, South Africa. Almost 71percent less microbes were found on frequently touched surfaces overlaid with copper sheets, in comparison with same articles made of conventional materials.
It was also seen that the use of copper-based disinfectant (CuWBO) was more effective in killing germs.
"The results of the first clinical trials in both Birmingham and South Africa, suggest that the use of copper may assist in maintaining hospital surfaces free of bacteria and could augment cleaning programmes already introduced into health care settings. The findings related to the use of a copper biocide adds further evidence to the potential of this metal for fighting infection," Prof Elliott, lead researcher at University Hospital Birmingham, said.
The study will appear in three papers slated for publication in the January issue of the Journal of Hospital Infection.