More than 400 sanitizing copper patches have been added to high-contact areas at UBC as part of a collaboration between Teck Resources and UBC to study the antimicrobial properties of copper.
How does it work?
When copper physically contacts a pathogen like the virus that causes COVID-19, it releases ions that punch through the exterior of the virus, eventually destroying its genetic material and deactivating it, says a UBC researcher involved in the project.
“Installing copper-based surfaces in hospitals and other health care settings has already been shown to reduce transmission of certain pathogens,” says Dr. Amanda Clifford, an assistant professor and materials engineer in UBC’s faculty of applied science. “Adding copper-coated surfaces in busy school buildings can potentially help protect the people who come through these spaces.”
Where’s the copper?
The patches can be seen on door handles and railings at nine UBC Applied Science buildings including the Fred Kaiser Building. They are proven to kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria on surfaces within two hours of contact.
Dr. Clifford also recently received funding from Teck to develop a new copper coating that can stop hospital-acquired infections like C. difficile and MRSA from spreading, preventing antibiotic resistance.
Clifford Lab photos: Dropbox