Antimicrobial Properties of Copper

Copper is an impressive antimicrobial metal that makes an excellent biocidal medical coating. This allows it to be used in a variety of areas, such as hospitals or nursing homes, to further patient safety and prevent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). This is because frequently-touched surfaces and objects can end up becoming breeding grounds for harmful pathogens. Doorknobs, railings, tray tables, faucets, IV poles, drawers, and countertops are all examples of potential reservoirs for microorganisms—some of which can survive for up to a month. Since many of these surfaces are touched dozens, if not hundreds of times throughout the day, it is not practical to sterilize them after every contact.

This is where antimicrobial medical coatings come in. By applying a protective layer of copper alloy to a surface, an antimicrobial environment is created that pathogens simply cannot survive in. This is the principle behind Aereus Shield™ and why it is 99.9% effective in eliminating harmful microorganisms.

Why Copper?

Copper has been used since ancient Egypt for its disinfectant properties. At the time, no one knew why it was so beneficial, only that it could prevent disease and that water carried in copper pots had better quality. With the benefit of modern science, the reasons behind copper’s biocidal traits are better understood.

Copper’s ability to deactivate or kill pathogens is currently thought to be due to how the element interacts with various chemical processes within a microorganism. For instance, excess copper is thought to cause the metal’s molecules to bind to proteins that don’t normally require it. This leads to the breakdown of proteins that bacteria would otherwise need to stay alive. Copper can also disrupt the integrity of a microorganism’s protective membrane, resulting in the membrane’s rupture and the cell’s death.

The speed at which copper or copper-coated surfaces can kill organisms depends on the type involved. E. coli can be eliminated within an hour of contact, for instance, but pathogens like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or influenza can take longer. When given proper time and application, copper alloys have been demonstrated to kill the common culprits behind HAIs.

The Protection of Aereus Shield

Aereus Technologies has used the latest in biotechnology to create Aereus Shield, a copper alloy coating that can be used to improve sanitation and protect patients from HAIs. Aereus Shield has been proven in lab tests to deliver continuous antibacterial protection that kills 99.9% of bacteria within an hour of exposure. The coating is a permanent protective layer (a shield) that inhibits the growth of bacteria and continues to kill microorganisms even after repeated contaminations.

Treated surfaces can continue to be cleaned and sanitized according to a facility’s standard procedures and guidelines and still retain Aereus Shield’s protection. As long as the protective layer is not waxed, painted, lacquered, varnished, or otherwise coated it will continue to protect against pathogens. Treated surfaces can become subject to recontamination, but Aereus Shield will continue to erode and destroy the new microorganisms once introduced. Aereus Shield is not a replacement for standard infection control practices.