In 2014, during the Ebola outbreak, British clinical researcher Rory Donnelly told the Khaleej Times that copper-impregnated clothing is the most viable and immediate answer.
“With staff becoming exposed to the virus through lack of appropriate protective equipment, including masks, gowns and gloves, copper clothing is another form of prevention. Several clinical and laboratory studies have been carried out showing copper ions destroy bacteria, and the benefits to humans have recently come to light,” Donnelly said.
The coronavirus has sparked new interest in copper clothing —not copper-coated armored suits but textiles impregnated with copper, which kill bacteria and odor on contact and show promising results in rejecting viruses.
“The interest in antimicrobials, especially antiviral coating, is very, very high,” A. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the North Carolina State University, College of Textiles in Raleigh, told the Associated Press in 2006. “Whoever gets it right will have a very nice business.”
In November, the American Society of Microbiology released a new study which discovered that copper hospital beds in intensive care units had 95 percent fewer bacteria than conventional beds.
That’s important because “hospital-acquired infections sicken approximately 2 million Americans annually, and kill nearly 100,000,” Dr. Michael G. Schmidt, University of South Carolina, Charleston, said. They are the eighth-leading cause of U.S. deaths.
Copper and its alloys are important tools in fighting diseases and infections. While government officials are correct to worry about ingestion of any heavy metal into the human body, testing shows that microbial copper is safe and has had a significant impact on preventing doctors and health care workers from contracting illnesses.
Copper is the only metal which is deadly to viruses, bacterial and fungal infections. The International Journal of Infection Control reports copper is effective in fighting diseases which develop drug-resistant mutations.
Medical experts correctly fear a repeat of the last influenza pandemic that swept our planet in 1918. The Spanish flu killed an estimated 50 million people — 3 percent of the world’s population. One-fifth of the world’s population was attacked by the deadly virus.
The bottom line is healthy health workers are key to helping us recover from common illnesses and epidemics. Copper will likely help improve their safety.