Proposed Mechanisms of Action 
Kuhn all Copper Masks and
Kuhn all Copper Insert

Sanitation uses an antimicrobial agent to reduce the number of germs to nonthreatening levels on objects, surfaces or living tissue. The following describes various mechanisms  that make copper mesh an excellent sanitizing agent.

I. Cidal (killing and inactivating) properties of the Kuhn all Copper Masks and Kuhn all Copper Insert

Viruses can be inactivated, rendering them harmless and unable to infect. Bacteria can be killed.

Metallic copper surfaces kill bacteria on contact, destroying populations by causing massive membrane damage after as little as a minute’s exposure. Often no viable microorganisms can be recovered after exposure to copper surfaces. (1) Corona virus(2), influenza A, adenovirus, rhinovirus 2, and many other viruses are inactivated by copper.

In-house testing disclosed that when a mixture of saliva and water (1:4) was inoculated onto copper mesh, the copper produced a 90% kill within five minutes. (Fig 1) 

Of note: The cidal activity (inactivation of viruses or killing of bacteria) never wears out. It is permanent.

An in-house study with a 50-year-old penny demonstrated the penny was still cidal. Results indicated no growth at 1 hr. after inoculation with 1:2 saliva/water solution. 

Michels H and Michels C (2016) reported on copper alloys in Grand Central Station (GCS). GCS was built in the 1800’s and renovated several times.  After decades of use, brass rails produced a 97% reduction in bacteria compared with nonbrass surfaces. (3)

Copper was registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the first solid antimicrobial material.  February 29, 2008 (4)

The copper mesh has approximately three times the surface area as a flat copper surface, making it potentially three times as effective inactivating viruses and killing bacteria.

  1. Espírito Santo, E.W. Lam, C.G. Elowsky, D. Quaranta, D.W. Domaille, C.J. Chang, and G. Grass, 2011. Bacterial killing by dry metallic copper surfaces.  Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 77: 794-802
  2. Warnes S, Little Z,Keevil C, 2015.. Human Coronavirus 229E Remains Infectious on Common Touch Surface Materials. mBio. 2015 Nov 10;6(6):e01697-15. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01697-15.
  3. Michels H, Michels C. In Current Trends in Microbiology, Copper Alloys The new “old” weapon against in the fight against disease. vol 10 2016 Sec 5,6 p 41
copper mesh
Fig 1       90% kill in five minutes  

II. Impingement  of copper atoms in the nasal passages

  • This is a unique feature of the copper mesh masks and insert.  The mesh continuously releases minuscule amounts of copper, est.  1-2 ppm over 2 to 3 hours of wear into the nasal area. Copper inactivates many viruses on contact.

III. Physical Barrier

By blocking the air flow, the probability of virus particles entering the nose and mouth is decreased.

 IV. Entrapment by Electrostatic charge

 V. Contact Kill or Inactivation

Once bacteria are trapped on the copper  surface, cell membranes and enzyme systems are rapidly destroyed.

Once viruses are trapped on the copper surface, capsid permeability and disruption of  nucleic acids may occur. Of note, outside a host cell, viruses are metabolically inactive. Prevention of reproduction may occur by destroying or blocking viral host cell receptors, permanently immobilizing virus on a surface,  or inactivating the nucleic acid within the virus capsid. (5)

5. Thurman, R., Gerba, C. and Bitton, G., 1989. The molecular mechanisms of copper and silver ion disinfection of bacteria and viruses. Critical Reviews in Environmental Control, 18(4), pp.295-315.

 VI. Air Scrubbing

VII. Water Resistance

In House study:  Because of water’s surface tension, water under low pressure, will not penetrate the mesh.  The mask can repel some droplets from a sneeze. However, under higher pressure, water would flow through. The copper mesh mask would fail a blood penetration test, which is an FDA requirement for surgical masks. Therefore, the mask is unsuitable in any situation where blood or body fluids may splash onto face.  However, the Copper Well Mask or insert may be worn beneath conventional masks.

VIII. Filter Air, Allergens

The diameter of most pollen is between 10 to 1000 microns.   Pollens with a diameter greater than the width opening of the mesh are filtered out. However, pollen is negatively charged.  Large and small pollen may be trapped on the positively charged copper surface.

IX. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Though copper has been recognized for its anti inflammatory properties, clinical studies are lacking.

These nine mechanisms may explain, in part, how the copper mesh masks and insert function.  Further investigation can yield more information on the remarkable properties of copper.