- Copper equipped accessories have also started popping up due to companies marketing it as such.
- Doctors said that even though copper has benefits, it does not guarantee one’s immunity against COVID-19.
In mid-March, University of Arizona microbiologist Michael D. L. Johnson received messages from people asking if products made with copper could help protect them from the coronavirus.
He said that he gets three to four emails a day, some asking if he recommended ingesting copper as a cure, while others wondered if decorating their homes with the metal would help the situation.
A few people were even willing to buy items of clothing that have copper just to make sure that they don’t acquire the disease.
Months later, the copper craze is still ongoing. People have noticed that there has been a gradual surge of interest in items made with the metal. These include socks, bedsheets, and coatings that can be sprayed onto surfaces.
Companies have even started marketing face masks with copper linings.
But as much as many people believe that one gets a lesser chance of getting COVID-19 when sporting something with copper, Dr. Johnson said that people should think twice before buying a bunch of the products.
Historically, copper has been known to have sanitizing abilities. It has been acknowledged dating as far back as ancient Egypt, said Durham University biochemist Karrera Djoko.
“Even before we had a concept of what a germ is,” Dr. Djoko said, “we were using copper to contain water.”
But even with several studies saying that the coronavirus will disappear faster on copper surfaces, Dr. Djoko said that many microbes don’t play well with copper.
When copper comes in contact with a bug like a coronavirus, it can release reactive ions that pummel and puncture the organism’s exterior. That gives the ions access to the microbe’s innards, where they wreak similar havoc on its genetic material.
If copper finds its way into a cell or a virus, it can swoop in and displace other metals, which results in impairing or even destroying the proteins it commandeers.
“If 40 percent of your proteins don’t work, you don’t work,” said Dr. Johnson.
Besides, experts emphasized that having copper around does not guarantee a cleaner surrounding. It still takes about 45 minutes for copper to reduce the amount of virus on a surface by half.
It’s not like it will immediately disappear like magic.
“Copper is a fantastic fashion choice. You’re going to look fabulous. It just might not work the way you think.”