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Copper and Brass Alloys Kill Corona Viruses Quickly

May 29, 2020
Eagle Stars stock copper plated token

Copper and Copper Alloys are Effective in the Fight Against Covid-19 and Other Viruses

As we’ve all learned, the Corona Virus can live for hours, if not DAYS on surfaces like kitchen counters, door knobs and railings. These are surfaces that, depending on their location, could be touched by hundreds of people or more a day. Yes, cleaning regularly and thoroughly is a valid option, but what if there was a material that could be used that KILLED the virus, and you didn’t have to do anything to it? That material/metal exists – it is copper and copper alloys.

The antibacterial properties of copper have been noted since at the 1800’s when a scientist named Victor Burq discovered that people who worked with copper and were exposed to cholera, had a higher survival rate.

In studies done in 2015, a sample of a different corona virus (but in the same family as Covid-19) was spread on pieces of metal containing different levels of copper. Those levels were: 100% copper, 95% copper, 90% copper, 85% copper, 70% copper, and 60% copper. The experiment control (the metal used as the standard of comparison) was stainless steel, the material much of the world uses for hand railings, door handles, restroom faucets etc. in newer construction. The idea was to see how much viable virus would survive within a certain time frame when placed on the metal containing different levels of copper.

The results were striking. With a starting point of 1,000 virus particles on the different metal pieces, after less than 50 minutes, ALL of the copper alloys showed a precipitous drop in the number of active particles. The stainless steel control did NOT show the same drop and instead, after 1.5 hours, had dropped only slightly.

As the percentage of copper dropped, it took little longer for the virus to be killed, but it still blew away the stainless steel and zinc.

How does it work? One of the prevailing theories is that the ions in copper interact with the membrane surrounding the virus. The ions disrupt this protective layer and the virus dries up.


The Metal We Purchase

Primarily, Osborne Coinage and its brands Osborne Mint, TokensDirect and Van Brook of Lexington, purchases .999 copper and brass with a minimum copper content of 70% for our coins, tokens and rounds.

On our higher end Goldine®(golden brass) and Verbronze (antique brass) coins, we apply lacquer.  Lacquer is a coating sprayed on the coins to prevent tarnishing. It forms a barrier on the coin and prevents the copper ions from killing viruses.

Our copper, .999 fine silver and nickel silver (the nickel silver we buy is 65% copper) coins are not lacquered. Copper and fine silver will develop a patina over time. Nickel Silver does not tarnish.

Our brass and red brass tokens are also not lacquered and will tarnish over time. 

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