Copper kills Covid!

In 1852, physician Victor Burq visited a copper smelter in Paris, where they used heat and chemicals to extract the reddish-brown metal. It was a dirty and dangerous job.

Yet, the 200 employees who worked there had all been spared from cholera outbreaks that hit the city in 1832, 1849, and 1852.

When Burq learned that 400-500 copper workers on the same street had also mysteriously dodged cholera, he concluded that something about their professions—and copper—had made them immune to the highly infectious disease.

Today we know that copper is antimicrobial - it kills bacteria and viruses, sometimes within minutes. Copper has been shown to kill a long list of microbes, including norovirus, E. Coli and coronaviruses—including the novel strain that causes COVID-19.

When a microbe lands on a copper surface, the copper releases ions, which are electrically charged particles. Those copper ions blast through the microbe's outer membranes and destroy its whole cell, including the DNA or RNA inside.

Because their DNA and RNA are destroyed, it also means a bacteria or virus can’t mutate and become resistant to the copper, or pass on genes (like for antibiotic resistance) to other microbes.

Using copper along with standard hygiene protocols has been shown to reduce bacteria in hospitals by 90%.

One of the lessons from Covid is that we should get back to using copper on high-touch public surfaces like railings, door knobs and elevator buttons to prevent the spread of illnesses. Copper is in brass and brass fixtures used to be very common, partly because of the health benefits.