We are nearing the scenario of “bad bugs and no drugs”.
Antimicrobial Resistance is a growing problem. See this BBC article on the publication of the study by the AMR Review.
A significant proportion of infection is spread by touch.
Flu studies show that a contaminated hand spreads pathogens to the next seven surfaces touched.
We humans are a very tactile species, touching on average 30 items per minute. Just consider how many touch surfaces in a busy clinical environment are touched every hour, let alone every day, and by many different people.
We need to up our game, and improve our “hotspot” touch surfaces in high-risk areas. Using copper or copper-alloy materials is a simple way to tackle this problem, without contributing to Antimicrobial Resistance.
Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) is a key mechanism for bacteria acquiring or conferring antimicrobial resistance in the environment. HGT is proven to occur on clinical touch surfaces, yet does not happen on copper materials.
Have a look at the work by Prof. Keevil and his team at Southampton University; pathogens (bacteria, viruses, yeasts & fungi) are not only killed rapidly on copper and copper-alloy materials but pathogenic DNA/RNA is also destroyed within seconds of contact with copper.
E.g. murine norovirus: 10,000 to zero in four minutes on copper, and DNA destruction evident within 30 seconds.
VRE: 10 million to zero in ten minutes on copper, under realistic indoor conditions
Copper is effective 24/7, between cleans and between touches.
At ambient temperature and humidity too, without the need for costly retraining of healthcare workers or special maintenance.
Key healthcare watchdogs such as EPIC3: National Evidence-Based Guidelines for Preventing Healthcare-Associated Infections in NHS Hospitals in England (see “Emerging Technology” in section 2.2 “Hospital Environmental Hygiene”) have recommended copper touch surfaces in their ‘top emerging technologies to watch.’ Other horizon-scanners including SHTG, ECRI Institute, AHRQ and CNESH have also endorsed Antimicrobial Copper touch surfaces in this way.