Copper can help combat Swine Flu
Another method to prevent the spread of H1N1 virus. The International Copper Association Ltd. has provided the following details.
Copper touch surfaces have self-sterilizing properties that can prevent the spread of H1N1 virus
The recent threat of Swine flu has emerged as the most important health concern in India and has triggered the need to use the most protective and efficient measures to reduce its spread in public places. While we have been advised to be alert, wash our hands regularly, avoid crowded places like cinema halls, shopping complexes, malls etc. International Copper Promotion Council (India) would also like to educate the public about the capability of Copper to combat the spread of the H1N1 virus.
A recent UK study1 has found that copper touch surfaces can significantly reduce the concentration of Influenza A virus on them, raising hopes that it may also be effective against other strains of the virus. The research found that 75 percent of Influenza A are knocked out in 1 hour on a copper surface and almost completely in 6 hours. The work, which was led by Professor Bill Keevil from the University of Southhampton, was presented at the BIT Life Sciences’ 2nd Annual World Summit of Anti-virals in Beijing on July 18. The findings are timely given the current Influenza H1N1 ( more commonly known as Swine Flu ) pandemic currently sweeping the world. But even more common forms of flu are a major global health issue.
The role of surfaces in spreading influenza is now well known. In fact it has been shown that once surfaces are contaminated, fingers can transfer viral particles to up to seven other clean surfaces. Professor Keevil makes it clear that preventing the spread of any strain of Influenza is a very complex process and no one option is likely to be 100 percent successful. “There is no single answer to controlling the spread of pathogenic microorganisms,” Prof Keevil
et al state in the paper. The current study shows that copper surfaces may contribute to the number of control barriers able to reduce transmission of the virus.
H1N1 virus appears to be transmitted the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the registration of antimicrobial Copper alloys, with Public Health Claims acknowledging that Copper, Brass and Bronze are capable of killing harmful, potentially deadly bacteria. Copper and Copper alloy surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of (specific) bacteria within two hours, and continue to kill more than 99% of (these) bacteria even after repeated contamination. Therefore, it has been recognized that the use of Copper touch surfaces in hospitals, educational institutions, public buildings, public transport and food preparation areas can reduce the spread of harmful infections.
Copper and its alloys are available in a variety of forms like door handles, grab rails and bathroom fixtures etc. which are regular touch surfaces and can work to demonstrate reduced build-up and transfer of infectious pathogens.
Mr. Ajit Advani, Dy. Regional Director Asia, International Copper Association Ltd. & CEO, International Copper Promotion Council (India) said: “In India, we have known about the protective properties of Copper since the vedic ages. This has now been corroborated by modern Science. Use of this wonder metal in public touch surfaces can go a long way in reducing the spread of infections such as Influenza”.
Dr. Anu Kant Mital, Associate Professor & Head of Department, Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, and President Indian Association of Biological Psychiatry said, “Touch surfaces such as Taps, Door handles, Railings etc. are the first portals of entry for any infection into the pool of becoming “The Epidemic“. This is especially significant in our country as we have a large population and the numbers that would be involved in the touch and spread model are mind boggling. In this context “The Anti-Microbial“ or more descriptively put “Self Sterilizing (self cleansing)“ properties of COPPER, established scientifically and accepted by the authorities world over now,( that we have known since eons) would be heaven sent. All the surfaces that are touched by thousands daily, if made of copper would not be aiding the spread of any infection, especially like the H1N1.”
The use of a Copper alloy surface is a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices; users must continue to follow all current infection control (hygienic) practices including those practices related to cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.