Categories: CoronavirusScience

Copper’s virus-killing effects may be key to winning COVID-19 fight

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Stationed at a suburban manufacturing plant in Dandenong, Melbourne, engineer Byron Kennedy and his firm, Spee3D, are using copper’s virus-killing effects to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to a report, the Australian firm is a manufacturer of 3D printers that use Supersonic 3D Deposition (SP3D) technology. Through its cold spraying process, it applies metallic powders such as copper and aluminum to a specific item at a high speed.

These 3D printers have been used by clients like the Australian defense force and the U.S. Marines to more quickly print replacement equipment parts in less than a day.

The benefits of copper

In 1983, students from the Hamot Medical Center in Pittsburgh performed a swab test on various surfaces around the hospital. A medical researcher in the name of Phyllis J. Kuhn noticed that toilets and doorknobs, which were made of copper, were clean of microbes, unlike the other fixtures in the hospital, which were particularly dirty and became home to viral replication.

Professor Bill Keevil from the University of Southampton in the U.K. has been studying copper and its antimicrobial and antiviral effects for more than two decades, and in 2009, he tested the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and the Swine Flu (H1N1) virus and found that contact with copper disintegrates and kills the said viruses.

In 2015, Keevil tested the Coronavirus 229E, which is a relative of today’s COVID-19 virus, and found that copper does not just kill these viruses, but actually destroys them right down to their nucleic acids – giving no chance for further mutation or evolution.

Copper disinfects merely by just being there

Melbourne-based contract service provider, 360biolabs, was funded by Spee3D to conduct a more recent test to further quantify copper’s antiviral effects.

As evidenced, 99.2% of SARS-CoV-2, a virus that causes COVID-19, are zapped in as fast as five hours, while it lived on for 2 to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel. This means that if pieces of equipment and fixtures are covered with copper, there would be a lesser need to clean so often as the virus disintegrates after landing on copper surfaces.

A slow uptake

Although the Northern Territory’s Trade, Business, and Innovation Department is delighted by Spee3D’s technology, it details that the use of copper in the manufacturing of fixtures, health care equipment, and facilities have not been widespread despite its benefits.

However, Spee3D said in a statement that it would continue to share copper’s virus-killing effects. Presently, the firm reports that it is already negotiating with several major doorknob manufacturers and a major mining company about additional applications.

Featured image courtesy of How to Make Everything/YouTube Screenshot.

Ava Alonzo

Ava Alonzo is a contributor to Micky News. She is completing her post-graduate degree in Management. Ava enjoys writing about anything related to business, technology, science and entertainment. In her spare time, she enjoys watching action-filled films or skimming through the pages of books written by Paulo Coelho.

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Ava Alonzo

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