Doorknobs, handrails and shopping trolleys should be coated in copper to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a top British scientist.
Research has shown the deadly infection can survive and remain contagious on steel and plastic for three days.
But the coronavirus is killed off within four hours on copper because of the metal’s antibacterial properties.
People can catch the illness by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their face, allowing the virus to enter their mouth or nose.
William Keevil, a senior microbiologist at the University of Southampton, said the UK lagged behind other countries when it came to using copper in communal areas.
He suggested door handles, shopping trolleys, handrails on public transport, and even gym equipment should be coated in the metal.
Doorknobs and handrails should be coated in copper to prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to British scientists
Workers on New York City’s underground system disinfect frequently used surfaces in Fulton Center, such as turnstiles, MetroCard vending machines and handrails
Coronavirus spreads when somebody who already has it coughs or sneezes onto their hand, then touches something or someone.
Anyone who touches something the patient has contaminated is at risk of catching the virus if they then touch their face.
Warmer weather does NOT stop coronavirus spreading: Two separate studies dash hopes of killer infection dying out in summer
Warm weather does not kill off the coronavirus or hamper its ability to spread, two separate studies have found.
US and Canadian researchers said the transmission risk was only reduced by about 1.5 per cent for every degree Fahrenheit above 77F (25C).
They analysed more than 370,000 cases in thousands of different cities in North America to come to the conclusion ‘summer is not going to make this go away.’
It dashes hopes of the global pandemic petering out in the coming months – a theory that has been touted by the US Government.
President Donald Trump said last month that research had suggested a combination of ultraviolet (UV) light and warmer temperatures killed off the virus in minutes.
William Keevil, a senior microbiologist at the University of Southampton, said the UK lagged behind other countries when it came to using copper in communal areas
The virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose and mouth, but not through the skin.
When the coronavirus lands on copper, the metal’s ions – electrically charged atoms – attack the virus’ lipid membrane, the structure that protects it.
The copper then invades the cell and destroys the virus’ DNA, killing it off completely.
Professor Keevil told The Times that buses in Poland had already been fitted with copper-plated handrails, while airports in Chile and Brazil immigration kiosks were coated in the metal.
He said gyms in America – which are teeming with bacteria and other infectious germs – had even covered barbells and other equipment with copper.
‘Door handles, push pipes on doors and stair rails in public buildings, as well as bus and train grab rails, should all have copper elements introduced in the UK,’ he told the newspaper.
Professor Keevil – who has been studying the antimicrobial effects of copper for more than two decades – said screens in fast-food restaurants and cash machines could also benefit from being fitted with the metal.
A US study last November found that copper hospital beds in intensive care units harbored an average of 95 per cent fewer bacteria than conventional hospital beds.
The Medical University researchers, in South Carolina, wrote at the time: ‘The findings indicate that antimicrobial copper beds can assist infection control practitioners in their quest to keep healthcare surfaces hygienic between regular cleanings, thereby reducing the potential risk of transmitting bacteria associated with healthcare associated infections.’
Studies have also shown coronavirus can be detected up to 24 hours after on cardboard.
Similar results were obtained from tests they did on the virus that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak.
Health officials from around the world say stringent hand-washing protocols are crucial to stopping the virus’s spread.
Coronavirus lingers in the air of crowded spaces and rooms that lack ventilation, researchers find
Covid-19 can linger in the air of crowded places, researchers today warned.
Experts in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic began, analysed air samples from different parts of two hospitals.
Results showed the virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was undetectable everywhere except two areas ‘prone to crowding’.
Researchers found viral particles floating in the air of hospital toilets, which had very little ventilation.
They also discovered especially high concentrations in the rooms where medical staff put on and took off protective gear.
The latter suggests the virus can latch onto clothing and become airborne again when when masks, gloves and gowns are removed.
Passengers are pictured on a Tube at Canning Town station on the London Underground today
Researchers behind the study say the findings highlight the importance of ventilation, limiting crowds and proper disinfection.
Scientists around the world are scrambling to understand how the virus sheds and spreads.
There is debate about whether enough viral particles can survive in the air to infect people who breathe them in hours later.
The latest study, led by researchers at Wuhan University, suggest it may be possible, without proper ventilation.
It follows a wealth of studies that have suggested the highly contagious disease does not just spread via droplets in a cough or sneeze.
Ke Lan, professor and director of the State Key Laboratory of Virology at the university, and colleagues set up so-called aerosol traps in and around two hospitals in the city.
They could not find detectable levels of the virus in the corridors of wards and patients’ rooms.
But they did discoverer them in toilets and two areas that had large crowds passing through, including an indoor space near one of the hospitals.
Writing in the study, the scientists said: ‘Although we have not established the infectivity of the virus detected in these hospital areas, we propose that SARS-CoV-2 may have the potential to be transmitted via aerosols.
‘Our results indicate that room ventilation, open space, sanitization of protective apparel, and proper use and disinfection of toilet areas can effectively limit the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in aerosols.’
It comes on the back of a US study which hinted that coronavirus could spread through the air and remain contagious for hours.
The Nebraska University paper found high levels of the bug lurking in the air in hospital rooms long after infected patients had left.
What’s more is that traces of the coronavirus were also discovered in hospital corridors outside patients’ rooms, where staff had been coming in and out.
The researchers behind the study say the finding highlights the importance of protective clothing for healthcare workers.
The researchers found viral particles in the air both inside the rooms and in the hallways outside of the rooms.
Their finding suggests people may be able to contract the bug without ever being in direct close proximity to an infected person.
The study’s authors said this highlights the importance of wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).