Until this year, what was known about copper was that it had antibacterial properties that allowed it to inactivate bacteria, mites, and fungi. No one was completely sure about its effectiveness in fighting viruses, a concern that was exposed amid the public debate over the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the Chilean group The Copper Company, which manufactures technical textiles with copper nanoparticles, certified that its products are effective in eliminating SARS-CoV-2, transforming this company into world references in the creation of masks and textiles to combat the pandemic.
According to recent research conducted by the laboratory of Infectious Diseases’ Institute of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Bern, Switzerland, the fabric with copper nanoparticles developed by The Copper Company showed antiviral activity of SARS-COV-2, specifically, the Wuhan strain, achieving an 85% reduction in the viral colony in 5 minutes.
After a contact time of 2 hours, the elimination of the virus reached 95%.
To understand how it was possible to achieve this degree of effectiveness, it is necessary to review what happens from a scientific lens. The action of copper on tissue yarns disintegrates the SARS-CoV-2 plasma membrane through ion exchange, which prevents the virus from reproducing. The fabric made in Chile by The Copper Company includes copper nanoparticles, since the smaller they are, the greater the effect in antiviral terms.
As the founder of The Copper Company, Luz Briceño, explains, the textile created by the Chilean company is the first to be tested against the SARS COV-19 strain where the Bern study demonstrates the effectiveness of copper in textiles to combat the virus, establishing the company as a pioneer and world reference. “Although it had been said in scientific papers that copper helped reduce the antiviral activity of some strains of Coronavirus, SARS or influenza, it had not been specifically done with the Wuhan strain, which today has unleashed the pandemic, that is why it is so this study carried out in Switzerland is relevant”.
The Copper Company has its proprietary fabrics, proven by the European Union as a medical device, and is CE certified. In the case of their masks, they are reusable: after 50 washes the effectiveness of copper decreases by only 1%. Besides, its textiles are used for masks and also for the manufacture of home textiles and health centers, which include vitamin E and D.
With this research, the Chilean company seeks to expand its market and for this, they work with a team made up of different science professionals, such as a specialist in infectious diseases and a biotechnologist, seeking to expand scientific knowledge about this important local-raw material.
The Copper Company is a Chilean company founded in 2014 -with the support of Codelco- with a focus on textile innovation through the use of copper nanoparticles, founded by the Chilean designer and today General Manager of the company Luz Briceño. This 2020, Briceño together with her partners Rocío Cassis, Production Manager, and Soledad Silva, Commercial Manager, have focused on combating SARS-CoV-2 through the production of textiles that are effective due to their sanitizing properties. Currently, they have positioned themselves as a leading brand in the field of #ScienceFashion internationally.
Its products such as masks and medical supplies as well as sheets, pillows, and towels for hotels and domestic use are already sold in more than 15 countries such as Dubai, Japan, Peru, France, Germany, Turkey, and Chile through its website
The company has already signed agreements with Amazon, they have partners in countries such as Japan and Switzerland, and a high percentage of their sales are in the North American and European markets.