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copper grab rails

Copper Anti Virus Grab Rails

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Copper anti virus grab rails

Only now does our research describe how copper anti virus grab rails and antimicrobial surfaces exhibit impressive properties,  and the processes involved. The anti microbial process involves the release of copper ions (electrically charged particles) when microbes, transferred by touching, sneezing or vomiting, land on the copper grab rail surface. The ions prevent cell respiration, punch holes in the bacterial cell membrane or disrupt the viral coat, and destroy the DNA and RNA inside.

This property means that no mutation can occur – preventing the microbe from developing resistance to copper. Global concern is growing over antimicrobial resistance and the risk of death that it presents from common infections in even minor operations. Therefore, it is fortunate that copper anti virus grab rails kill superbugs, including MRSA and those from the notorious ESKAPE group of pathogens – the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections.

So if copper anti virus grab rails are so great, you may be wondering, why don’t hospitals have more copper fittings and fixtures? Well, while some hospitals are installing copper grab rails and other copper fittings, many others are still not aware of its properties. When doctors are asked to name an antimicrobial metal used in healthcare, the most common reply is silver – but little do they know that silver does not work as an antimicrobial surface when dry – moisture needs to be present and so silver would have an antibacterial effect, like copper does, on grab rails and surfaces which have frequent hand contact.

Cost could also be a factor. Hospitals may perceive hand-gel dispensers as cheaper options, despite the fact that these gels do not all kill all microbes – including the norovirus. Yet an independent study by University of York’s Health Economics Consortium has shown that, taking the reduced costs of shorter patient stay and treatment into consideration, the payback time for installing copper anti virus grab rails is only two months.

Making and installing copper anti microbial grab rails is no more expensive than using materials such as stainless steel which, ironically, is considered easier to keep clean due to its bright surface. However, we know that these are covered in microscopic indentations and scratches from regular wear and tear, leaving valleys for superbugs and viruses to reside in and escape cleaning procedures. Cleaning happens at best once a day, while copper works 24/7 – so it is surely an important adjunct in the fight to keep the built environment clean.

The importance of installing copper fittings has been recognised in France where various hospitals are now installing copper. Finally, at least some nations of the world are waking up to this simple approach to control infection, let’s hope others are quick to follow suit.

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