Teck funds UBC copper patches, research
University researchers study advanced antimicrobial copper Metal Tech News – March 30, 2022
Last updated 3/29/2022 at 1:43pm
The application of antimicrobial copper patches on high-touch surfaces at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Applied Science will help reduce the spread of infection as researchers inside the protected buildings investigate more advanced copper coatings that are even more lethal to viruses and bacteria.
Funded through Teck Resources Ltd.'s Copper and Health program, more than 400 Health Canada-registered copper patches have been installed on door handles, railings, and other high-touch surfaces in public areas of nine UBC Applied Science buildings.
"Teck is proud to partner with UBC Applied Science on this installation of antimicrobial copper in high-traffic spaces to create a safer environment for students and staff," said Teck Resources President and CEO Don Lindsay.
Manufactured and sold by Coptek Copper Covers, the patches are self-sanitizing adhesive covers with a copper face that is proven to continuously kill 99.9% of bacteria on surfaces within two hours of contact.
Copper is the only solid metal touch surface registered as a public health product by Health Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The antimicrobial copper patches applied at UBC Applied Science buildings will create a safer work and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff.
In addition, Teck's Copper and Health program has provided funding to Amanda Clifford, an assistant professor from UBC's Department of Materials Engineering, for research into the development of advanced copper coating technology that is expected to outperform pure copper in terms of reducing the spread of aggressive infections contracted through contaminated surfaces in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
"Thank you to the UBC Applied Science and materials engineering department for their leadership in conducting research to advance technology for antimicrobial copper surfaces which will support making our communities safer," said Lindsay.
Healthcare-associated infections, especially antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections such as MRSA, are a growing problem.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection at any given time.
As Canada's top copper producer, Teck is committed to raising awareness and advocating for the use of copper as an innovative solution to healthcare-acquired infections, as well as infections resulting from bacteria spread in busy public spaces.
This includes Teck's Copper & Health program-funded study carried out by the Vancouver Coastal Hospital that confirmed copper's infection control benefits and durability in a hospital setting.
Vancouver General, along with Lions Gate and Kootenay Boundary Regional hospitals, now have copper surfaces that Teck helped to have installed.
The Vancouver, BC-based mining company has also committed to installing copper surfaces in the Teck Emergency Department at the new St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and Team Canada training facilities in Toronto and Calgary.
Similar copper patches have also been applied to high-touch surfaces on public transportation vehicles in Vancouver and Toronto.
Results from the UBC research into the development of advanced antimicrobial copper coating technology will go through a peer-review process and are expected to be released this year.