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FASEB J. 2004 Nov;18(14):1728-30. Epub 2004 Sep 2.

Putting copper into action: copper-impregnated products with potent biocidal activities.

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Cupron Inc., New York, New York, USA.


Copper ions, either alone or in copper complexes, have been used for centuries to disinfect liquids, solids, and human tissue. Today copper is used as a water purifier, algaecide, fungicide, nematocide, molluscicide, and antibacterial and antifouling agent. Copper also displays potent antiviral activity. We hypothesized that introducing copper into clothing, bedding, and other articles would provide them with biocidal properties. A durable platform technology has been developed that introduces copper into cotton fibers, latex, and other polymeric materials. This study demonstrates the broad-spectrum antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal) and antimite activities of copper-impregnated fibers and polyester products. This technology enabled the production of antiviral gloves and filters (which deactivate HIV-1 and other viruses), antibacterial self-sterilizing fabrics (which kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci), antifungal socks (which alleviate symptoms of athlete's foot), and anti-dust mite mattress covers (which reduce mite-related allergies). These products did not have skin-sensitizing properties, as determined by guine pig maximization and rabbit skin irritation tests. Our study demonstrates the potential use of copper in new applications. These applications address medical issues of the greatest importance, such as viral transmissions; nosocomial, or healthcare-associated, infections; and the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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