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Antimicrobial Copper Listed Among Top 10 Technologies to Watch in 2014

Annual report highlights health-system issues (January 24)

A U.S. nonprofit health organization dedicated to researching the best approaches to patient care has listed antimicrobial copper as one of the top 10 technologies to watch in its 2014 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List.

Copper earned the distinction from the ECRI Institute less than 1 year after a key study found that copper kills bacteria and reduces infections.

The institute, based in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, has been evaluating the safety, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of health technologies for more than 45 years. The 2014 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List serves as a reference guide for both hospital leaders and the public on upcoming noteworthy health technologies or health-system issues each year.

While copper’s antimicrobial properties have been known for thousands of years, recent research piloted by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and funded by the Department of Defense found that surfaces made from antimicrobial copper alloys, such as brass and bronze, had 83% fewer bacteria on average compared with surfaces made from traditional materials.

A 2013 study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology showed that the use of antimicrobial copper surfaces reduced the number of health care-associated infections in intensive care units by 58%. The study also found that antimicrobial copper surfaces can kill strains of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, including the “superbugs” methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).

The Watch List notes that “antimicrobial copper is the only hospital touch surface with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) public health registration, allowing manufacturers to claim that copper surfaces can kill specific bacteria… that cause infections and pose a threat to human health.”

Source: PR Newswire; January 24, 2014.

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