Leading Expert Discusses Copper’s Potential to Transform Healthcare Worldwide

Leading Expert Discusses Copper’s Potential to Transform Healthcare Worldwide
06 Jul 2015

Professor Bill Keevil – the UK’s foremost expert on the antimicrobial properties of copper – explains how solid copper and copper alloys reduce dangerous pathogens on contact, which he and his team at Southampton University have explored extensively in the laboratory. In real-world situations, this translates into a reduced risk of bacteria being deposited on a surface by one person.

Extensive research has been done on Antimicrobial Copper, click here to learn more

Asked how quickly we could see copper surfaces installed in hospitals across the world, Professor Keevil explains “It’s rolling out already. For example, in Chile, the UK, Ireland, in Australia, China and Japan. At the moment it’s happening in just a few numbers in each of the countries, but the fact that it’s happening on a global scale means, I think, that it’s about to take off.”

But won’t these pathogens evolve resistance to copper? Professor Keevil thinks not.

“When people have looked at the antibiotic world,” he says, “that’s exactly what’s happened. The difference for copper is it works in completely different ways to antibiotics or common biocides. It punches a hole in the cell membrane, like a balloon, and the bacteria collapse… It stops them respiring, goes into the cell and destroys their DNA, which is the important fact, I believe.

Mutation happens because you get small changes in DNA in cells. The beauty of copper is it destroys the DNA; there is nothing left. They can’t mutate. They have no time, no chance to mutate. They’re gone.”

Professor Keevil recently completed a segment for BBC World Service where he spoke about the above information.

*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, antimicrobial copper surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: MRSA, VRE, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli O157:H7. Antimicrobial copper surfaces are a supplement to and not a substitute for standard infection control practices and have been shown to reduce microbial contamination, but do not necessarily prevent cross contamination or infections; users must continue to follow all current infection control practices.

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