Branding the most effective antimicrobial surface material
24 May 2010
Antimicrobial Copper is a new global brand that will enable fabricators and product manufacturers to signify that their products are capable of continuously killing pathogenic microbes and reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections. the brand will offer assurance wherever it appears, signalling to infection control professionals, specifiers, patients and consumers alike that the item bearing it is made from the world’s most effective antimicrobial touch surface material: copper.
Antimicrobial Copper is a new global brand that will enable fabricators and product manufacturers to signify that their products are capable of continuously killing pathogenic microbes and reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections. Premiered at the 4th National Joint Conference and Exhibition on Healthcare Associated Infection (HCAI) – jointly organised by the Royal College of Nursing and the Department of Health – the brand will offer assurance wherever it appears, signalling to infection control professionals, specifiers, patients and consumers alike that the item bearing it is made from the world’s most effective antimicrobial touch surface material: copper.
Scientifically proven to continuously kill microbes – from headline bacteria such as MRSA, C. difficile and E. coli to viruses such as Influenza A (H1N1) – copper’s efficacy has been demonstrated in rigorous clinical trials, undertaken in the UK at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, at three hospitals in the United States with funding from the Department of Defense, and in similar trials in Germany, Japan and Chile. All have shown a significant reduction in microbial contamination on antimicrobial copper touch surfaces (including door handles and push plates, taps, toilet seats, light switches and grab rails) compared with the load on non-copper surfaces. Antimicrobial Copper is also the only solid material registered by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US to be marketed with public health claims.
The UK trial leader, Professor Tom Elliott, said of the startling 90-100% reduction in contamination on the copper surfaces at Selly Oak: ‘It’s what I would call an intelligent metal. The copper is quietly working away in the background, killing organisms all the time.’ He stresses that it can be a potent additional method of fighting the spread of infection when teamed with existing hygiene protocols.
Antimicrobial Copper and Cu+ are the unifying brand name and logo denoting products made from materials capable of continuously reducing surface contamination, antimicrobial through and through, so that its efficacy will not diminish or wear away; a material that is completely safe. Also, at the end of its service life, Antimicrobial Copper items are 100% recyclable without loss of properties, thus making an important contribution to sustainable design.
One of the first companies to adopt the brand in the UK, AS Hardware, has been an enthusiastic proponent of antimicrobial copper’s potential since the results of the Selly Oak trial were published. James Pritchard, responsible for UK sales, says: ‘With demand for antimicrobial copper growing, we can offer Antimicrobial Copper branded, DDA compliant pull handles and lever handles with escutcheons, kick plates and signage to match, ensuring the market is well-supplied with colour-coordinated products that look beautiful and help fight infection between cleans. The new brand provides our customers with the reassurance of proven antimicrobial efficacy.’
Whilst the UK leads the way, manufacturers around the world are in discussions about adopting the brand, and the London launch is the first of a string of events planned for the European roll out. In the UK, the brand will be managed by Copper Development Association on behalf of the International Copper Association. These organisations will confirm the credentials of any product utilising the mark, ensuring it utilises a recognised antimicrobial copper alloy.
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