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Can copper products protect you from COVID-19?

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 22:36:47-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A spike in cases also means a surge in products promising anti-viral protection. Copper is one the materials in high demand.

The company Aeris calls their copper phone case -- your newest tool in the fight against COVID-19.

“Aeris is actually the Latin word for copper,” said COO Andrew Medland. “Which is interesting, because copper's properties in one way or another have been known about since the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks used, and the Romans.”

Medland says he and his college roommate came up with idea for a copper phone case while they quarantined.

“Our research found there is a lot of information about copper killing all forms of germs, so we like to call it an anti-pathogenic.”

Experts say there is some science behind coppers rise in popularity.

“The coronavirus SARS-coV-2 persisted a lot less time on a pure copper surface compared to other surfaces like plastic or cardboard,” said University of Arizona microbiologist Michael Johnson.

Johnson says while there has been research on copper, any specific product needs to be tested to verify claims. He says different alloys or coatings might not have the same effect, and something like a phone case still leaves a lot of unprotected area.

“I can't imagine a situation where it covers your entire phone, the screen will be exposed, where you put your ear and where you speak into.”

Also, viruses can still last hours on copper. That is plenty of time for transmission.

Medland says he knows copper is not a cure-all.

“This is not a cure for pandemics. We still support social distancing, washing your hands, things like that. This is just another tool in your arsenal that could potentially be really helpful.”

Medland says they are in the process of lab testing their product with live samples of the virus that causes Covid-19. He also wants people to know they are donating one case to frontline workers for every case sold. He says they plan to donate to healthcare workers in Arizona soon.

Johnson says if you do purchase any copper products make sure you don't let bold claims lull you into a false sense of security.