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Copper exerts 'halo' antimicrobial effect6th of February 2013
Results from a clinical trial of antimicrobial copper touch surfaces in a neonatal intensive care unit at a Greek hospital have shown that, in addition to contamination being 90 per cent lower on the copper surfaces, they also exert a halo effect whereby non-copper surfaces up to 50 cm away
exhibited a reduction in contamination of more than 70 per cent.
The trial ran from July to August 2012 at Aghia Sofia Children’s Hospital. Frequently-touched
surfaces such as door furniture, work surfaces, drawer tops and handles were replaced with items
made from antimicrobial copper.
Since touch surfaces have beenshown to harbour the bacteria and viruses that cause healthcare-associated infections – and pathogens can survive for days or months on ordinary surfaces – a reduction in contamination offers a reduction in the risk of infections being picked up from these surfaces.
Results announced at the eighth Pan-Hellenic Health Conference of Health Administration, Finance and Policies in Athens in December indicated a reduction in contamination on the antimicrobial copper surfaces of 95 per cent, in line with the findings of clinical trials in the UK, US and Chile.
The halo effect was also found in a 2010 trial at a US outpatient clinic, but this is the first time it has been observed in an intensive care unit. A reduction of 70–75 per cent bioburden was reported by the researchers on non-copper items at up to 50 cm distance from the antimicrobial copper surfaces.