Video. New research carried out in the South could help wipe out the winter vomiting bug norovirus, saving hundreds of lives. Scientists from the University of Southampton have discovered that copper kills the bug almost instantly.
Experts say if the surfaces we touch constantly like door handles, taps and stair rails are made with the metal, it would drastically reduce the spread of infections. Christine Alsford spoke to Professor Bill Keevil from the University of Southampton and a norovirus patient Serena Spencer-Jones.
Scientists from the University of Southampton have discovered that cooper and copper alloys rapidly destroy norovirus.
The study was designed to simulate fingertip touch contamination of surfaces and showed that the virus was rapidly destroyed on copper and its alloys.
The virus is highly infectious and can be contracted from contaminated food or water, person-to-person contact and contact with contaminated surfaces, meaning surfaces made from copper could effectively shut down one avenue of infection.
Lead author Sarah Warnes, from the Centre for Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton said, "The use of antimicrobial surfaces containing copper in clinical and community environments, such as cruise ships and care facilities, could help to reduce the spread of norovirus."