Copper is quite effective in inhibiting the influenza A H1N1 virus commonly known as Swine flu, according to the latest study. Copper appears to have a broad spectrum in antiviral activity due to its effectiveness against RNA (Ribonucleic acid)-based influenza and DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)-based adenovirus 40/41, which causes gastrointestinal infections.
Bill Keevil, professor at the University of Southampton School of Biological Sciences, said that he believed copper could be used to reduce the spread of flu in public places.
"With the ongoing threat of contamination by influenza A virus, such as H1N1, there is a real and pressing need to utilise all appropriate and effective measures with proven antimicrobial qualities," said Keevil.
"It is recognised that many infectious diseases are contagious and studies have now shown that the use of copper as a surface material in key public places such as hospitals and food preparation areas offers the potential to substantially restrict and reduce the spread of harmful infections."
The influenza aspect of the study involved a series of experiments testing incubation of influenza A on copper and stainless steel surfaces.
Results showed that after incubation for one hour on copper, 75 percent of the virus was eradicated. Similar inactivation rates have now been observed for adenovirus 40/41.
The study has contributed further to the understanding of copper's antimicrobial qualities, which actively inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi and viruses, said a University of Southampton release.
These findings were presented at the BIT Life Sciences' Second Annual World Summit on Anti-virals in Beijing this week.