About BioShield 29

The antimicrobial properties of Copper have been known since ancient times. Ancient Indian writings advised the use of copper water vessels to limit disease. It is well known that water that travels through copper pipes is much less prone to microbial contamination. In modern times, the antimicrobial nature of copper has been studied demonstrated extensively.

Many metals, especially the so called “transition metals” Silver, Copper, and Zinc ( in order of conductivity) have some antimicrobial activity. Among the metals that demonstrate significant antimicrobial activity, Copper is the most suitable for use. Silver is too expensive and too toxic to be of much use except in very specific situations and the third runner-up metal, Zinc, is significantly less active than copper and exhibits significant toxicity, specifically affecting the sense of smell and sometimes causing nausea.

The presence of one single electron in the “outer shell” of the copper ion make it highly active and very willing to participate in activities that share the election and tend make the Copper ion more stable. This is one not the reasons that Copper is such a good conductor of electricity. It seems that the active nature of the Copper ion is responsible for its antimicrobial activity. When antimicrobial activity is studied.

Pure copper is by far the best choice for antimicrobial activity. Copper alloys (mixtures of Copper with other metals) are also active but not so effective as pure Copper. Even small amounts of other elements mixed into copper create an alloy that is significantly less conducive and has much less effective antimicrobial activity than pure Copper.

The activity of the copper ion lends itself to interaction with the cell membrane, the “outer skin of the cell”. The cell membrane is electrically active, exhibiting what is called a “transmembrane potential” - the membrane has an electrical charge. The interaction between the charges of the cell membrane and the copper ion likely disrupts the electrical potential of the cell membrane causing “holes” or “gaps” in the membrane wall.

The antiviral activity of copper has ben extensively studied among the influenza A Virus group as well as other types of viruses. Copper has ben shown to inactivate viruses by damaging their protein coat and interfering with the activity of enzymes critical to viral viability (hemagglutinin and neuraminidase). Denaturing protein structure seems to be the actual mechanism of action of inactivation of the viruses.

Copper may also combine with elements of the cell wall in an oxidation reaction (similar to rust) which can damage or compromise the cell membrane, causing weak or nonfunctioning areas of the surface, allowing seepage in and out. Within the cell, virus, or fungus these oxidative reactions may further damage, destroy, or inactivate vital elements of the microbe.

Copper may enter the cell either through the gaps it creates or by other mechanisms. Once inside. Copper then binds to enzymes, inactivating them. It also directly interferes with active proteins that transform the enzymes from their inactive to active forms. Some of these enzymes are directly are responsible for maintaining DNA and RNA activity.

Copper kills microbial threats - bacteria, viruses, and fungus - by one or several of these multiple mechanisms. Copper ions destroy the integrity of the cell membrane, create oxidative damage, and interfere with enzyme activity. These many different actions of copper, both inside and on the outside of the microbe is likely why copper is so toxic to microbes and why it is so effective against such a wide range of bacteria, viruses, and fungus.

Many respiratory viruses similar to SARS and MERS are susceptible to destruction by Copper. Research has shown that the coronavirus 229E, a close relation other human respiratory viruses, is rapidly destroyed by Copper even though it can remain viable for long periods on other types of surfaces.(1)

Microbes differ in the length of time to takes for copper to render them harmless. Researchers found a direct correlation with the time the microbe was in contact with copper and viability. Some microbes are killed in minutes while others may take several hours to be destroyed. (2)

The cost of influenza alone to American Business is staggering. CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 – 61,000 deaths annually since 2010 (not counting the COVID pandemic of 2020).(3)

Each year, between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu and miss a staggering 70 million work days as a result. Over the past five years (excluding the H1N1 flu season of 2009-2010 and the pandemic of 2020) the the flu has cost American business over $40 Billion dollars in lost productivity the COVID19 pandemic of 2020) - an average of about $8.4 billion per year. The direct cost of hospital and treatment costs each year is roughly $10.4 billion - all of which translates into higher health care premiums.(3)

These figures are for influenza alone and do not factor in any of the other other common infectious diseases that result in tremendous loss of productivity, such as the common cold, and gastrointestinal diseases (with diarrhea, and vomiting). The total amount of productivity lost to diseases that are easily transmissible in the workplace by contact is almost too much to fathom.

The spread of infection in the workplace is exponential, not linear - at least until all susceptible individuals are either infected or isolated from those infected. This means that the absolute number of infected individuals in a population as well as the rate of infection will go up with increasing rate of speed. The effect of exponential spread of disease is terrifying. In exponential spread, the rate of infection is multiplied with each generation of infection. With a highly transmissible disease, the actual potential for additional infections per person and, thus, a far steeper rate of infection, is more likely.

Communicable disease is tremendously costly to business lost productivity. Treatment is similarly burdensome in direct and indirect costs. The only viable solution to release business from the choke hold that transmissible disease has on it is prevention. Prevention of transmission by contact is a major element in achieving that goal.