Researchers in the UK have found that copper could be used to help prevent viruses associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) from spreading.
The study, published in the journal, mBio, focused on a specific virus, known as 229E, which is closely related to SARS and MERS.
The researchers were keen to learn more about how the virus spreads outside of direct person-to-person contact, so they investigated how long germs from the virus can survive on a range of surfaces.
They found that the virus could survive on ceramic tiles, glass, rubber and stainless steel for at least 5 days. In contrast, when placed on copper or on a range of metals made up primarily of copper (copper alloys), the virus was completely destroyed within a few minutes.
The researchers believe that if copper surfaces were used in more areas used by lots of people alongside strict cleaning procedures, it could help prevent the spread of such viruses.
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