B. Brass was recognized as a self- disinfecting metal ideal for hospital hardware in 1983. Copper killed bacteria in less than 7 minutes, brass in less than 7 hours. Stainless steel and aluminum kept bacteria viable 3 weeks or longer.
Warnes S, Zoë R, Little C, Keevil W.Human Coronavirus 229E Remains
Infectious on Common Touch SurfaceMaterials Rita Colwell,
Editor mBio. 2015 Nov-Dec; 6(6): e01697-15. Published online 2015
Nov 10. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01697-15
… We have shown previously that noroviruses are destroyed on copper alloy surfaces. In this new study, human coronavirus 229E was rapidly inactivated on a range of copper alloys (within a few minutes for simulated fingertip contamination) and Cu/Zn brasses were very effective at lower copper concentration. Exposure to copper destroyed the viral genomes and irreversibly affected virus morphology, including disintegration of envelope and dispersal of surface spikes. Cu(I) and Cu(II) moieties were responsible for the inactivation, which was enhanced by reactive oxygen species generation on alloy surfaces, resulting in even faster inactivation than was seen with nonenveloped viruses on copper. Consequently, copper alloy surfaces could be employed in communal areas and at any mass gatherings to help reduce transmission of respiratory viruses from contaminated surfaces and protect the public health….”
Salgado C, Sepkowitz K, John J, Cantey R, Attaway H, Freeman K, Sharpe P, Michels M, Schmidt M. Copper Surfaces Reduce the Rate of Healthcare-Acquired Infections in the Intensive Care Unit. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.May 2013, vol. 34, no. 5 Thursday Feb 28 2013 10:34
Objective. Healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) cause substantial patient morbidity and mortality. Items in the environment harbor microorganisms that may contribute to HAIs. Reduction in surface bioburden may be an effective strategy to reduce HAIs. The inherent biocidal properties of copper surfaces offer a theoretical advantage to conventional cleaning, as the effect is continuous rather than episodic. We sought to determine whether placement of copper alloy–surfaced objects in an intensive care unit (ICU) reduced the risk of HAI.
Design. Intention-to-treat randomized control trial between July 12, 2010, and June 14, 2011.
Setting. The ICUs of 3 hospitals. patients. Patients presenting for admission to the ICU. methods. Patients were randomly placed in available rooms with or without copper alloy surfaces, and the rates of incident HAI and/ or colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) in each type of room were compared.
Results. The rate of HAI and/or MRSA or VRE colonization in ICU rooms with copper alloy surfaces was significantly lower than that in standard ICU rooms (0.071 vs 0.123; ). For HAI only, the rate was reduced from 0.081 to 0.034 ( ). P p .020 P p .013
Conclusions. Patients cared for in ICU rooms with copper alloy surfaces had a significantly lower rate of incident HAI and/or colonization with MRSA or VRE than did patients treated in standard rooms. Additional studies are needed to determine the clinical effect of copper alloy surfaces in additional patient populations and setting
This video is abstracted from “Unexpected Solutions: The Science of Problem Solving”
Kuhn estimates that she caught a cold nearly half of the time she traveled by plane, leaving her sick for two to three weeks at a time. As a University of Massachusetts Amherst Microbiology MS and PhD holder with decades of experience in medical research, she knew that there had to be a solution.
In the nascent days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jiaxing Huang watched as the novel virus overwhelmed the hospitals in his native China. A professor of materials science and engineering at Northwestern University, he contacted colleagues back home to brainstorm how to apply their expertise to mitigate future pandemics and sent the subsequently published suggestions to the National Science Foundation.
The NSF had a similar idea, eventually putting out a call for rapid response non-medical research grant proposals to address the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. But not before awarding Huang. In mid-March, he became the first materials scientist to receive a $200,000 grant to develop a chemical add-on for traditional masks that can destroy COVID-19. Now Huang and his team have put their other research aside to concentrate on this new project.
“I was trying to motivate my peers and students that even though we don’t work on the front lines or in virus-related research, there are still ways we can help,” says Huang. “We want to be part of the long-term effort to contribute—not just for the current pandemic, but to be better prepared for future ones as well.”
Studies have shown that masks and respirators reduce coronavirus spread and infection rates, and several states are mandating them in public or when not practicing social distancing. Increased demand, coupled with shortages, have caused their average prices to as much as quadruple. Medical technology analysis firm Life Science Intelligence estimates that global sales of masks and respirators will exceed pre-pandemic estimates by 211% and 305%, respectively, depending on how the COVID-19 virus spreads.
With medical-grade masks and respirators in short supply for healthcare workers and civilians making do with makeshift fabric versions, the quest is on for more effective, antimicrobial, and reusable facial protection for everyone. It’s particularly urgent in the U.S., the global leader in COVID-19 cases, which have climbed to nearly 1.4 million and threaten to worsen as states relax shelter-in-place measures.
Right now, the gold standard for protecting people from the virus is the disposable medical-grade N95 respirator, which traps particles through layers of filters and electrostatic charge. This enables N95 respirators to filter out 95% of non-oil particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. Although the coronavirus is smaller, between 0.05 and 0.2 microns in diameter, wearing masks with smaller pores is problematic because they make breathing more difficult. The N95 masks instead thwart the virus’s path with multiple layers, while static electricity draws SARS-CoV-2 to the fabric. However, they’re made for one-time use, since liquids and humidity (including aerosolized droplets, sneezing, and exhaling) dampen those charges and render the masks less effective the more they’re worn.
Even before the pandemic, researchers and manufacturers from around the world were trying to create reusable masks that both filtered and destroyed bacteria and viruses. A number of antimicrobial masks already on the market use copper-infused filters and nanofabrics, which are engineered with tiny particles to give them enhanced attributes like water, odor, and microbial resistance.
Copper has long-established antimicrobial properties that include killing the COVID-19 virus within four hours. Positively charged copper ions attract and trap bacteria and most viruses, which are negatively charged. The copper ions then penetrate the microbes and destroy their ability to replicate, significantly reducing the number of infectious particles that might get through the pores of the mask. (Silver and zinc ions, also used in some masks, deactivate microbes in similar fashion.)
But just having an antimicrobial layer or coating isn’t enough. People shopping for such masks need to consider a combination of factors—the pore size, number and type of layers, as well as the seal. For example, medical N95 respirators have metal bars that wearers can bend so the top edge conforms to their nose bridges and lower cheeks.
“One of the ways in which COVID-19 is spread is through nose and mouth secretions (droplet transmission) and probably by airborne transmission (like breathing out the virus),” says Carl Fichtenbaum, an infectious disease professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. “If somebody were to sneeze or cough, the mask should not fall off their face. So you have to know whether the copper or other chemically enhanced masks have the same ability as an N95 mask to form a tight seal and whether there are sufficient layers to prevent droplets or airborne particles from getting through.”
Masks that use copper technology vary widely in terms of degrees of effectiveness, price, and longevity, with some intended for healthcare use and others purely as an upgrade from fabric masks. Costs for single masks generally run from $10 to $70, with antimicrobial properties lasting from 30 washes to the life of the product. Some companies have tested their products against other viruses, though none have against COVID-19, which requires highly specialized facilities that aren’t readily available. “Virus size, infectivity level, and chemical properties vary and influence how well masks work,” adds Fichtenbaum.
Some high-tech masks come at a high price, in the $50 to $70 range. Israeli fiber technology company Argaman has one featuring four copper-infused layers and copper oxide filters from Czech firm Respilon, which also sells its own masks. Israeli startup Sonovia uses zinc oxide coating and five-micron filtration that is supposed to last a year.
Companies that specialize in copper-infused antimicrobial apparel and mask specialty outlets offered more affordable versions. Copper Compression and the U.K.-based Copper Clothing offer four-layer masks blocking 99% of particulates, while Copper Mask uses six-ply copper and HEPA filters blocking 92%. Another company, Kuhn Copper Solutions—founded by microbiologist Phyllis Kuhn, an early advocate of copper use in hospitals—specializes in copper mesh masks and inserts that can be combined with traditional or cloth versions.
You can also find copper-infused cotton masks at some furniture and apparel outlets—like The Futon Shop, CustomInk, and Atoms shoes—that hopped on the copper bandwagon by leveraging existing production pipelines.
Nobly, some of these companies have done their part to address the mask shortage. Copper Compression donated 18,000 masks to New York and New Jersey-area hospitals, while Atoms is donating one mask for every mask sold to the New York City Housing Authority.
The pandemic has also prompted universities from around the world to step up research into new mask technology, most notably through integrating antiviral chemicals or repurposing water filtration techniques.
Rather than reinvent the copper-infused mask, Northwestern’s Huang is looking at an inexpensive way to incorporate chemicals traditionally found in sanitation products, which are known to deactivate a broad range of viruses. He’s looking into sprays, as well as chemically treated fabrics, patches, and inserts for disposable or DIY masks—all of which would ramp up the effectiveness of existing masks. “What we need to worry about is how to fix these agents so they don’t [release] easily when people inhale and get into their lungs,” he says. “But then we need to have them go away during exhalation. That’s the science challenge.”
Huang’s grant gives him a year to publish his findings, which he hopes will inspire others to design products using them. “What we can do best is really to show people that this idea works,” he says. “That’s our contribution: speed up the technical solutions.”
Meanwhile, Israeli researchers have attempted a similar approach that’s already being tested at the Galilee Medical Center. Mechanical engineering professor Eyal Zussman of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology led a team that developed a 3D-printed nanoscale fiber sticker coated with antiseptics that trap particles and neutralize viruses in droplets that land on the mask. The sticker attaches to a traditional mask to provide extra protection.
Other researchers are finding ways to apply water purification technology to air filtration. Chris Arnusch, a water research professor at Ben Gurion University (BGU), also in Israel, spent five years developing porous graphene membranes with antimicrobial and antiviral properties for use in water purification. Now, he’s trying to validate the technology for air, with an eye toward adapting it for masks or air filters. Pure graphene is an atom-thick layer of graphite, a component used in pencil lead, that’s incredibly strong and conducts electricity. Arnusch creates a foam-like form of graphene for his filters by training a laser on plastic surfaces. Armed with seed funding from BGU and the Israeli government, he’s now teaming up with a startup to commercialize this and other products.
“In the case of my water filters, the pores are larger than the bacteria and viruses,” says Arnusch. “But if you electrify the surface in water, it kills the bacteria and viruses as they pass through. I’m trying to see if it works in the air. Once proven, we just need to adapt it to a mask or air filter.”
Laser-induced graphene also interested Hong Kong Polytechnic University researchers, who are applying the material to disposable surgical masks to make them self-sterilizing and ultra water-repellent, so virus-laden droplets roll off. In an April paper, they noted that sunlight could theoretically sterilize a graphene-coated mask by heating it to 176°F.
University of Cincinnati researchers are also developing mask filters by adapting water filtration technology to air. The project involves integrating a carbon nanotube heater into a fabric that’s made of carbon nanotubes and polymer fibers. The nanotubes’ small diameters and collective high surface area could effectively separate microbes, while heating the carbon could kill them. Having successfully applied this carbon nanotube heater technique to the water purification industry, the team is trying to use it to filter air, with support from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In battling COVID-19, even the most effective masks need to work in conjunction with other protective measures, like social distancing and hand-washing. And it may be too early to know if high-tech masks work better than their simpler cousins.
“The bottom line, of course, is that you have to have this tested in a real-life environment to see whether what you say it does, it actually does,” says Fichtenbaum. “There’s been testing on a variety of masks, with different results from different viruses. Not every virus is the same.”
When researchers reported last month that the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic survives for days on glass and stainless steel but dies within hours after landing on copper, the only thing that surprised Bill Keevil was that the pathogen lasted so long on copper.
Keevil, a microbiology researcher at the University of Southampton (U.K.), has studied the antimicrobial effects of copper for more than two decades. He has watched in his laboratory as the simple metal slew one bad bug after another. He began with the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease and then turned to drug-resistant killer infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). He tested viruses that caused worldwide health scares such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic of 2009. In each case, copper contact killed the pathogen within minutes. “It just blew it apart,” he says.
In 2015, Keevil turned his attention to Coronavirus 229E, a relative of the COVID-19 virus that causes the common cold and pneumonia. Once again, copper zapped the virus within minutes while it remained infectious for five days on surfaces such as stainless steel or glass.
“One of the ironies is, people [install] stainless steel because it seems clean and in a way, it is,” he says, noting the material’s ubiquity in public places. “But then the argument is how often do you clean? We don’t clean often enough.” Copper, by contrast, disinfects merely by being there.
Keevil’s work is a modern confirmation of an ancient remedy. For thousands of years, long before they knew about germs or viruses, people have known of copper’s disinfectant powers. “Copper is truly a gift from Mother Nature in that the human race has been using it for over eight millennia,” says Michael G. Schmidt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina who researches copper in healthcare settings.
The first recorded use of copper as an infection-killing agent comes from Smith’s Papyrus, the oldest-known medical document in history. The information therein has been ascribed to an Egyptian doctor circa 1700 B.C. but is based on information that dates back as far as 3200 B.C. Egyptians designated the ankh symbol, representing eternal life, to denote copper in hieroglyphs.
As far back as 1,600 B.C., the Chinese used copper coins as medication to treat heart and stomach pain as well as bladder diseases. The sea-faring Phoenicians inserted shavings from their bronze swords into battle wounds to prevent infection. For thousands of years, women have known that their children didn’t get diarrhea as frequently when they drank from copper vessels and passed on this knowledge to subsequent generations. “You don’t need a medical degree to diagnose diarrhea,” Schmidt says.
And copper’s power lasts. Keevil’s team checked the old railings at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal a few years ago. “The copper is still working just like it did the day it was put in over 100 years ago,” he says. “This stuff is durable and the anti-microbial effect doesn’t go away.”
What the ancients knew, modern scientists and organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency have confirmed. The EPA has registered about 400 copper surfaces as antimicrobial. But how exactly does it work?
Heavy metals including gold and silver are antibacterial, but copper’s specific atomic makeup gives it extra killing power, Keevil says. Copper has a free electron in its outer orbital shell of electrons that easily takes part in oxidation-reduction reactions (which also makes the metal a good conductor). As a result, Schmidt says, it becomes a “molecular oxygen grenade.” Silver and gold don’t have the free electron, so they are less reactive.
Copper kills in other ways as well, according to Keevil, who has published papers on the effect. When a microbe lands on copper, ions blast the pathogen like an onslaught of missiles, preventing cell respiration and punching holes in the cell membrane or viral coating and creating free radicals that accelerate the kill, especially on dry surfaces. Most importantly, the ions seek and destroy the DNA and RNA inside a bacteria or virus, preventing the mutations that create drug-resistant superbugs. “The properties never wear off, even if it tarnishes,” Schmidt says.
Schmidt has focused his research on the question of whether using copper alloys in often-touched surfaces reduces hospital infections. On any given day, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control, costing as much as $50,000 per patient. Schmidt’s landmark study, funded by the Department of Defense, looked at copper alloys on surfaces including bedside rails, tray tables, intravenous poles, and chair armrests at three hospitals around the country. That 43-month investigation revealed a 58 percent infection reduction compared to routine infection protocols.
Further research stalled when the DOD focused on the Zika epidemic, so Schmidt turned his attention to working with a manufacturer that created a copper hospital bed. A two-year study published earlier this year compared beds in an intensive care unit with plastic surfaces and those with copper. Bed rails on the plastic surfaces exceeded the accepted risk standards in nearly 90 percent of the samples, while the rails on the copper bed exceeded those standards on only 9 percent. “We again demonstrated in spades that copper can keep the built environment clean from microorganisms,” he says.
Schmidt is also a co-author of an 18-month study led by Shannon Hinsa-Leasure, an environmental microbiologist at Grinnell College, that compared the bacterial abundance in occupied and unoccupied rooms at Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s 49-bed rural hospital. Again, copper reduced bacterial numbers. “If you’re using a copper alloy that’s always working,” Hinsa-Leasure says, “you still need to clean the environment, but you have something in place that’s working all the time (to disinfect) as well.”
Keevil and Schmidt have found that installing copper on just 10 percent of surfaces would prevent infections and save $1,176 a day (comparing the reduced cost of treating infections to the cost of installing copper). Yet hospitals have been slow to respond. “I’ve been surprised how slow it has been to be taken up by hospitals,” Hinsa-Leasure adds. “A lot of it has to do with our healthcare system and funding to hospitals, which is very tight. When our hospital redid our emergency room, we installed copper alloys in key places. So it makes a lot of sense when you’re doing a renovation or building something that’s new. It’s more expensive if you’re just changing something that you already have.”
The Sentara Hospital system in North Carolina and Virginia made copper-impregnated surfaces the standard across 13 hospitals in 2017 for overbed tables and bed rails after a 2016 clinical trial at a Virginia Beach hospital reported a 78 percent reduction in drug-resistant organisms. Using technology pioneered in Israel, the hospital has also moved to copper-infused bedding. Keevil says France and Poland are beginning to put copper alloys in hospitals. In Peru and Chile, which produce copper, it’s being used in hospitals and the public transit systems. “So it’s going around the world, but it still hasn’t taken off,” he says.
If copper kills COVID-19, should you periodically roll a few pennies and nickels around in your hands? Stick with water, soap, and sanitizer. “You never know how many viruses are affiliated with the hand, so it may not completely get them all,” Schmidt says. “It will only be a guess if copper will completely protect.”
If you’ve been on the hunt for a mask lately, you might have stumbled across one that contains copper. And if you’re not dialed into the latest on microbial surfaces, this might raise some questions. Why copper? And is it worth spending the extra money?
The answer is complicated. “I have great hopes for copper masks,” says Michael Schmidt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, who has studied the use of copper in medical products. “But there is a lot of research that still needs to be done about [their] effectiveness. If you’re just throwing copper layers onto a mask, we don’t [know] if they work.” Here are some things to consider the next time you see a pop-up ad for a copper mask.
Copper can destroy bacteria and viruses, as my colleague Mark Wilson recently reported. It contains positively charged ions that trap viruses that are negatively charged. Then the copper ions penetrate the viruses, stopping them from replicating. A recent study found that copper is effective at inactivating the novel coronavirus within four hours.
Historically, copper has been used in hospital door knobs and IV stands to curb the spread of illness. It has also been used in fabric. Schmidt points to an innovator in this space, Virginia-based Cupron, which invented a copper-infused fabric more than a decade ago. These fabrics have been made into bedsheets and pillowcases in hospitals. Microbiologist Phyllis Kuhn was another early advocate of using copper in hospitals. She developed a mask made from 99.95% copper mesh, which she sells on her website for $25.
Now, as coronavirus has swept across the planet and forced more people to wear masks, more companies are thinking about incorporating copper into masks. Companies like shoe startup Atoms, The Futon Shop, and an Israeli tech company called Argaman have all started selling copper masks, which cost between $10 and $70 a pop. “These fabrics have been around for some time—it’s just COVID that makes it new again,” Schmidt says.
Cupron, for instance, has started making cloth masks that contain a mix of cotton fibers and polyester blended with cotton, although they’re not available for individual purchase. Last week, the University Hospitals of Cleveland Medical Center bought 25,000 for employees. Daniel Simon, the chief clinical and scientific officer of UHCMC, says that N95 and surgical masks are being reserved for workers caring for confirmed COVID-19 patients. Meanwhile, the copper masks will be worn by all other employees. “We believe copper masks are more effective at protecting our workers than a simple cloth mask because the copper in them kills germs,” Simon says.
Right now, most copper masks on the market aren’t respirators, like the N95 mask, which creates a perfect seal around the wearer’s face. Instead, they’re looser-fitting cloth masks, which allow particles to enter through gaps in the side. These masks aren’t designed for people who are at high risk of being exposed to those with COVID-19.
Instead, they’re designed to be an improvement on the cloth masks that the CDC recommends people wear in public to curb the spread of the coronavirus. If a wearer is infected, virus-laden droplets that come out of their mouth or nose and land on the mask will be killed off in a matter of hours. On a cloth mask, they could live on the material for several days. In other words, these masks are designed to be more hygienic. “As the viral particles go out of you through the copper mask into the environment, they will die,” says Schmidt.
There are some benefits for the wearer as well. For instance, Cupron’s chief medical scientist says one way the virus could be transmitted is if someone touches an infected surface—like a doorknob—then touches their mask to adjust it. In this situation, the copper in the mask would kill these viruses, whereas they would linger on a traditional cloth mask, potentially contaminating the wearer. “The outside of a mask can pick up the virus,” Schmidt says. “You can pick it up with your fingers, rub your eye, pick your nose, lick your finger, and voila, you’re contaminated.”
However, the effectiveness of a mask depends on how much copper is in it, Schmidt says. Virus particles are very small, so they would need to actually encounter the copper to be deactivated. The best copper masks would have copper incorporated into every fiber, rather than just on one single layer embedded inside the mask.
One benefit of copper masks is that many are washable. While the specific details of washability vary, many copper masks—including Cupron’s and Phyllis Kuhn’s—can be washed repeatedly without reducing their efficacy. This is one reason that some hospitals, like UHCMC, are so eager to get their hands on them. “It’s hard procuring new PPE at a time when there is a global shortage,” says Simon. “With these copper masks, our workers can keep them for years and they will be just as effective.”
Schmidt says that copper is unlikely to interact with other chemicals, like cleaning solutions. He points out that copper is found in many everyday objects, including nickels and dimes. Most people aren’t allergic to these objects when they touch them, nor do they create adverse reactions with chemicals.
So should you buy a copper mask? Schmidt says that if a copper textile has been scientifically evaluated, it could be an improvement on the average cloth mask. The problem is that most copper masks on the market haven’t been studied.
Cupron’s copper masks—which are currently only available for institutions to purchase—have been studied and registered by the EPA, so Schmidt believes they’re trustworthy. But most other copper masks popping up haven’t been put to the test. “Many companies selling copper masks have not gone through the rigorous approach of getting their products registered or done studies to evaluate their masks,” says Schmidt. “They could just be bad copycats of Cupron’s mask.”
If you’re interested in purchasing a copper mask, Schmidt urges caution. “You need to know what you’re buying and how to properly use it,” he says. “Do your homework. Don’t buy the first mask you stumble across.”
While not the only way to protect yourself, this durable, beautiful and versatile material could make a difference. And the fashion world has already adopted it
The research does not stop and continues to pursue illuminating answers to the question: is there a material that protects us from viruses? We run after the idea that a sort of ideal and safe screen helps isolate us from a spoiled air of bacteria . A possible solution comes out loud from the world of fashion design : copper . Thus, some companies are launching on the market masks and jackets made of copper , which, apparently, can be a solution, curious as well as saving, to the riddle.
Su Viceit reads that “in 1852, the doctor Victor Burq visited a copper foundry in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, where he used heat and chemicals to extract the reddish-brown metal. It was a dirty and dangerous job. Burq also found the foundry structure and hygiene in poor condition. As a rule, the mortality rate of those who worked in the foundry was “pitiful”. Still, the 200 employees were all spared from the cholera epidemics, which hit the city in the 1832, 1849 and 1852. When Burq learned that 400-500 copper workers, along the same road, had also mysteriously avoided cholera, he concluded that something in their activities – and copper – had made them immune to highly contagious disease. So he started adetailed investigation of other people who worked in contact with copper, in Paris and in cities all over the world “.
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Between France and England, Sweden and Russia it was discovered that, basically, those who were in contact with copper surfaces , even brass players, boasted a mysterious immunity to contagious diseases. In fact, the question “does copper really kill the virus? ” Was hugely popular during this Covid-19 pandemic. And, indeed, it has emerged that, although it is not the only way to protect yourself obviously, the resistant, beautiful and versatile material, known since ancient times for its antibacterial properties, could make the difference. Because copper releases ions, i.e. particles charged with positive electricity, which detonate the external membranes of bacteria and viruses. Immediately, the entire bacterial cell dies, including its DNA or RNA.
Having taken the scientific suggestion, the fashion industry has combined business with pleasure by thinking of revolutionizing masks or jackets, also and above all in view of a probable massive return of the Covid-19 during the coming winter, in protection tools made with the occult and efficient metal alloy. Micheal Schmidt, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, said on Fast Company : “I have high hopes for copper masks, but there is still much research to be done on their effectiveness.” The microbiologist Phyllis Kuhn , another scientific voice supporting the most widespread use of copper, especially in hospitals, has created a 99.95% copper mesh mask for sale on their website for $ 25.
Kuhn Copper Solutions
And, in the wake of Kuhn, other companies, such as that of shoes, Atoms, or The Futon Shop in London, specializing mostly in the manufacture of mattresses for Japanese-style beds, have started to sell masks made with copper – embracing a price range between 10 and 70 dollars. Fast Company reported that Cupron, an Israeli company, has started producing cloth masks that contain a mix of cotton and polyester fibers mixed with cotton. Although not available for individual purchase, some hospitals in the United States have refueled it for their employees. Daniel Simon, the clinical and scientific manager of the UHCMC, said: “We believe that copper masks are more effective than just a cloth mask, in protecting our workers, because the copper they contain kills germs.”
Not just masks. The Vollebak company , known for having launched a graphene jacket and a carbon fiber shirt, useful in the sports field, has launched a destructive microbiotic copper jacket . “We wanted to see if it was possible to start making clothes made almost entirely of copper. Full Metal Jacket is our first iteration of copper clothing. Although it might seem that it comes from another planet, it is designed to be worn like a normal jacket. And it doesn’t feel like wearing metal – copper is woven into a flexible wire and the jacket is lined with fleece , so it’s comfortable enough to be worn every day “- said Nick Tidball, co-founder of Vollebak.
Apparently, the project had been in the pipeline for three years, inspired by Bill Gates’ well-known 2015 TEDX, the announcement of an alleged pandemic on the way. Every Full Metal Jacket it is made of 65% copper and about 12 kilometers of metal. The founders of Vollebak, the Tidball twins, said that “transforming a metal into a wearable, high-performance fabric is a very complex process. The first of the three layers of the jacket is made of a lacquered copper yarn. The lacquer it is completely transparent and is present as protection, therefore the color of each jacket is the color of the dyed copper. The external fabric is laminated with an advanced waterproof and breathable membrane called c_change®. Instead of remaining static, the c_change® membrane can open and close to respond to different weather conditions, while remaining permanently waterproof and windproof. Once the metal lining fabric and the advanced membrane have been glued together, an abrasion-resistant polyamide support is added. In this way the jacket can be worn like any coat suitable for high performance. Over time, the fabric wears like denim, with fold lines that emerge and colors that gradually fade to reveal the color of raw copper “.
We knew that the clothes of the new normal would arrive in record time . Fortunately, these first proposals seem to give us the certainty that we will not have to dress as austronauts or, worse, wear unlikely diving suits. Who knows what the fashion of the future will be like . But maybe this is already future?
About 2,000 masks and liners have sold since spring
Phyllis Kuhn loathed flying on airplanes. It always seemed that the longtime Erie researcher would get a cold or other viral illness a few days after any trip.
She recalled working with a student on a research project that showed how brass doorknobs prevented bacterial and virus growth much better than stainless steel ones did. Kuhn wondered if a face mask made from copper, which is used to make brass, would be effective.
‘My mind went back to copper, that it can kill microbes within five minutes,’ said Kuhn, president of the Lake Erie Research Institute. ‘What about making a copper-mesh face mask?’
Kuhn has worked for the past four years on the masks but wasn’t sure how much of a demand there would be for them. Then the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
She has sold about 2,000 of the lightweight masks and Phyllis Kuhn, a longtime Erie researcher, shows how a coppermesh face mask she helped design prevents fluid from seeping through. Kuhn is selling the face masks through her business, Kuhn Copper Solutions.
[DAVID BRUCE/ERIE TIMES-NEWS]
mask liners, many of them in the late spring and early summer after they were featured in Fast Company, a monthly business magazine. “I am getting a lot of feedback from people who buy them, saying that their allergies don’t seem as bad and they aren’t getting sick as often,” said Kuhn, who added that no testing has yet been done on the masks and filters to determine how well they prevent COVID-19 and other viral illnesses.
In 2017, Kuhn went to Penn State Behrend’s Innovations Commons lab and worked with Jake Marsh and his students on prototypes for the mask and filters.
“When Phyllis came to us, she didn’t have a prototype,” said Marsh, the lab’s director. “She had simply folded the mesh and glued string to it.”
Several prototypes were developed that helped hold the mask more securely to a person’s face. Another was made that just covered a person’s nose.
Marsh said it was exciting for him and his students to work on the masks and filters, even if Kuhn didn’t end up using any of the prototypes.
“Phyllis certainly was ahead of the curve about using copper mesh in face masks,” Marsh said. “I don’t know if anyone was thinking of this back in 2017.”
Though the masks are made of copper mesh, they work about as well as paper surgical masks at preventing fluids from seeping though, according to Kuhn’s tests. They also are lightweight and don’t hinder a person’s breathing.
Since the masks are made of copper, letting them sit for at least 5 minutes will kill all bacteria and viruses, Kuhn said. They can also be cleaned with rubbing alcohol.
The mask and filters are designed to be worn next to the skin, Kuhn said. Though a person might inhale or digest a trace amount of copper dust while wearing the mask, it’s not nearly enough to cause problems.
“Tests have shown up to 1.6 parts per million can be deposited in the nostrils,” Kuhn said. “That’s well below the nearly 1,000 parts per million to have any kind of adverse effect.”
One mask or two filters cost $29.95. Kuhn said they are designed to last at least two years.
For information about the masks and filters, Kuhn recommended people visit her website, https://kuhncoppersolutions.org.
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