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Barnstaple 01271 860794 | London 02038 698253 | Plymouth 01752 422981 [email protected]

The HYGI-Group have recently launched their HYGI-Metal products. The HYGI-Metal is a copper alloy that can start killing bacteria and viruses on impact but looks just like stainless steel. Stainless steel is widely used throughout many buildings because it looks good. Now there is a copper alloy that can mimic this look and protect the public.

Professor Bill Keevil, Professor of Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton, who worked with the HYGI-Group to test how long COVID-19 survived on the HYGI-Metal, said ‘the HYGI-Metal is the first one that looks almost identical to stainless steel, where we’ve been able to show that it’s able to inactivate or kill the COVID-19 virus.’

antimicrobial copper alloy handrail that looks like stainless steel

Copper and its appearance

The antimicrobial properties of copper have been known for centuries and in more recent years we have started to understand the full potential if introducing it into different environments in order to reduce touch surface transmission and protect the public. But up until now there has been an issue; nobody wants to use products that look like copper.

The HYGI-Group saw this problem and worked to create an alloy that contained enough copper to work as an effective antimicrobial material, whilst manufacturing it to look just like stainless steel. This way, designers, architects, construction workers, etc, can introduce infection control products without compromising on design.

The aesthetic of copper has never been very popular in construction, with people referring to it as being ‘dirty’ looking, and the favoured stainless steel looking much cleaner. Actually, copper is the cleanest, safest material you could use for touch surfaces. Stainless steel harbours bacteria and viruses, sometimes for weeks, and has crevices where bacteria and germs can hide that even regular cleaning can’t reach. Other options on the market come as coatings for stainless steel or wraps/stickers. Coatings can be scuffed and scratched exposing the stainless steel underneath and compromising the antimicrobial properties. Wraps and stickers can again not look very appealing and start to peel away over periods of time. Both options aren’t viable in the long run, where as the HYGI-Metal never loses its antimicrobial properties and works 24.7.

antimicrobial copper alloy handrail that looks like stainless steel

How HYGI can help

Before its launch, the HYGI-Group worked with Professor Bill Keevil who tested how fast the HYGI-Metal could kill the COVID-19 virus. Results showed that the metal alloy began killing the virus on impact, and it had completely inactivated it within 2 hours. On the other hand, the COVID-19 virus survived on stainless steel for days.

These results tell us that introducing products made of the HYGI-Metal will help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and help create safe environments.

But not only is copper effective against the Coronavirus, it can also help us tackle other issues we face.

For example, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global concern which faces humanity. AMR is what happens when bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi stop responding to medicines. Two ways in which AMR can be targeted, is reducing antibiotic use, and minimising the spread of these bugs. On copper, the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between resistant bacteria is stopped. This is because the genes get destroyed.

HYGI-Safe logo etched onto a copper alloy push plate

Looking to the future

The most recent Government Advice document suggests that copper alternatives should be explored in buildings to reduce microbial contamination on surfaces.

We believe that antimicrobial products such as the HYGI-Metal are going to be paramount in creating safer buildings and public spaces in the future, as government advice suggests.

Incorporating HYGI products into your environment is the effective change public spaces need. If you want to discuss your options today email [email protected] or call 01392 793 220.