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Coronavirus: Chile uses the antiseptic properties of copper to make masks

Chile, the world’s leading copper producer, is betting on the antiseptic properties of this metal, which effectively eliminates bacteria, viruses and fungi, to cope with the global shortage of masks caused by the coronavirus epidemic

Bactericidal properties of copper

Two Chilean companies have thus developed models of masks to which copper nanoparticles have been added.

Because, according to several studies published by the New England Journal of medicine and the American Universities of California, Los Angeles and Princeton, the new coronavirus can survive between two and three days on plastic and stainless steel, and at least 24 hours on cardboard. However, it disappears in four hours on copper surfaces.

The Copper 3D company has launched the manufacture of reusable masks, made from a polymer into which copper nanoparticles have been injected.

These masks have a removable filter system that can be made with 3D printers, and removed for replacement.

Copper nanoparticles “destroy nucleic acids in the DNA of a virus or bacteria in a very fast and efficient process,” said Daniel Martinez, one of the project’s initiators, who is looking for funds to manufacture these masks on a large scale for an average sale price of 25 dollars each.

Chile, which supplies a third of the world’s copper production, has had the metal’s antiseptic properties certified.

In 2008, the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notably approved the registration of 270 copper alloys with bactericidal properties on the contact surfaces. According to Codelco, the Chilean public mining company, copper is already used in intensive care units in hospitals, where copper-designed surfaces reduce the risk of infection by 40%. In South America , copper is also already used to make medical utensils, laboratory worktops, door handles, stair railings, etc. Another Chilean company, The Copper Company, specialized in textile, also manufactures masks, using fabrics embellished with copper nanoparticles.

“We produce between 15,000 and 20,000 fabric masks with copper nanoparticles per week and we have sold all of our production,” Luz Briceño, the company’s chief executive, told AFP.

Washable and reusable, these masks – similar in design to surgical masks – are made with certified copper wire, says Briceño, who sells her products in Chile to mining and telecommunications companies for $ 10 a unit.

The company also manufactures socks, underwear and towels with copper particles.

Written By: AFP / Relaxnews
April 10, 2020



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