Medical

Copper alloy kills coronavirus within 10 minutes

Updated on Thursday 30 July 2020, 8:45 PM

3 Minute Read

A team of scientists at the University of Southampton have established significant results in the

elimination of Covid-19 within minutes, on a copper-based alloy, demonstrating its ability to reduce coronavirus transmission rates, via commonly touched surfaces, manufactured with this metal.  Working with Sylatech, an engineering business in North Yorkshire, Professor Bill Keevil, Dr Sandra Wilks and their team undertook trials using Sylatech’s copper-based alloy, MB1, which is known to have excellent antibacterial and anti-viral properties against a range of pathogens.

The study, undertaken in strict laboratory conditions, simulated the virus landing on a surface, such as it would from a cough or sneeze, and looked at how long it survived. It compared the viability of the coronavirus on stainless steel against Sylatech’s copper-based alloy.

The startling results showed that on the copper alloy, the virus viability was completely eliminated within 10 minutes. There was a 93.9% reduction in the virus within 5 minutes and yet on stainless steel, the virus remained fully infectious, with no reduction after one hour. Previous research has also shown the virus to live on stainless steel and plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours. and a recent article in The Lancet suggested that it can even survive for 7 days.

 Comparison of virus survival rates on common materials vs. MB1 copper alloy

 

Material

 

Lifespan of Coronavirus Source
MB1 copper alloy

 

< 10 minutes* *University of Southampton
Stainless Steel

 

7 days** **The Lancet
Surgical mask (outer layer) 7 days** **The Lancet
Plastic

 

7 days** **The Lancet
Glass / banknote 4 days ** **The Lancet

 

Commenting on the results, Professor Keevil said, “with the coronavirus having such a significant

impact on all of our lives and with the looming risk of further spikes, it is clear that fundamental

changes are required in our approach to hygiene. The antimicrobial properties of Sylatech’s copper

alloy are clear in their rapid rate of virus elimination and action should be taken to capitalise on

this”.

 

Items such as door handles, light switches, toilet levers, taps and other regularly touched surfaces

all carry significant risk in spreading bacteria and viruses. Hospitals, shops, offices, airports and

other locations with high human traffic, need to seriously rethink their environment and take

urgent action to address the hygiene risk.

 

 

Having recently launched the KeepSafe, a personal handheld device made from its MB1 alloy,

Sylatech is now progressing a number of other potential applications to further exploit the results

from the study. Charlie Breese, Sylatech’s Managing Director commented, “clearly we are delighted

that our copper alloy demonstrates such a strong ability to combat the coronavirus. The KeepSafe,

our simple device which enables users to avoid touching handles, buttons or grabbing items

unnecessarily, is a specific innovation to exploit the benefits of the material. Our design engineers

stand ready, together with our specialist investment casting and CNC machining capability, to

support businesses looking to create products using our MB1 copper-alloy to provide permanent

changes against the virus.

 

It is contingent upon Government and business leaders to implement change that creates a safer

environment for all of our futures.

 

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