Copper – A Superbug Killing Metaladmin
Twentieth-century medical implants are commonly made from different metalic alloys including iron, cobalt, chromium, titanium, and tantalum. However there’s one antimicrobial metal that, until this point, hadn’t been wildly considered by medical professionals – copper.
Although copper has been utilized for health purposes since ancient times, according to IFLScience.com, “when doctors are asked to name an antimicrobial metal…the most common reply is silver.” Unlike silver, copper does not require moisture to have an antibacterial effect.
Research published by Bill Keevil of the University of Southampton in The Conversation outlines how copper releases ions when microbes, “transferred by touching, sneezing or vomiting, land on the copper surface. The ions prevent cell respiration, punch holes in the bacterial cell membrane or disrupt the viral coat, and destroy the DNA and RNA inside.” While antimicrobial resistance is a growing global concern, this latter property prevents the microbes from developing a restistance to copper. So why isn’t it more commonly used?
In addition to a lack or awareness, cost is definitely a factor. Currently hand-gel dispensers are viewed as a cheaper option, despite the fact that using copper fittings in a hospital setting is no more expensive than the more commonly used stainless steel.