Antimicrobial copper was found to reduce 58 percent of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) within two hours, says study published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. The study compared copper to equivalent non-copper touch surfaces during active patient care between routine cleaning and sanitizing.
"Copper alloy surfaces offer an alternative way to reduce the increasing number of HAIs, without having to worry about changing healthcare worker behavior," said Dr. Michael Schmidt, Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina and one of the authors of the study. "Because the antimicrobial effect is a continuous property of copper, the regrowth of deadly bacteria is significantly less on these surfaces, making a safer environment for hospital patients."
In study results, 46 patients developed an HAI, while 26 patients became colonized with MRSA or VRE. Overall, the proportion of patients who developed an HAI was significantly lower among those assigned to intensive care rooms with objects fabricated using copper alloys. There are currently hundreds of Antimicrobial Copper healthcare-related products available today, including IV poles, stretchers, tray tables and door hardware.
This study was so successful that an interdisciplinary team from UCLA began replicating this research in July 2012. The team is testing ICUs with Antimicrobial Copper at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.