I want to share good health news about a metal that has been around for a very long time. As far back as 2600 BC the ancients knew copper sanitized water and used to treat wounds. Currently poorer countries use copper containers for drinking water. A low-cost way to prevent infection in wounds.
Cooper is considered ‘biocidal’, that is it can kill bacteria upon contact. So important, in this day of over-prescription antibiotics and merging antibiotic resistance by bacteria. At the start of the pandemic, you may have heard the observation that on copper surfaces the SARS-CoV2 can’t die. It was already known that E. coli (tested was E. coli O157) while lasting 28 days on stainless steel surfaces only lasts minutes on copper ones.
It has been proven that copper can kill several different bacteria, including Legionella, Escherichia coli, Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and even antibiotic-resistant bacteria – vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus. In the 1990s Philadephia outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease, it was noted that the bacteria were less likely to grow on copper pipes (vs. steel or plastic).
Researchers deduced that “..copper is capable to inhibit, inactivate, reduce, and irreversibly destroy coronavirus, influenza virus, and other pathogenic agents in a matter of minutes.”
Not just bacteria but viruses, succumb to copper. Earlier this year in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers showed that SARS-CoV-2 was viable on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 3 days, but was eliminated on copper after 4 hours.
Other respiratory viruses that succumb to the effects of copper are influenza H1N1 and influenza A.
What to do with what we have learned? Think why not infuse textiles, with copper? Well, it has been done and a publication of the results showed high-risk respiratory patients using bed linen, towels, and clothing with copper in them had less fever need for antibiotics.
Not much has been done to evaluate if copper can affect fungus. But there are positive suggestions in the literature.
FYI cooper fabric does not cause skin irritation