UBC Applied Science and Teck install antimicrobial copper on campus

The UBC Faculty of Applied Science and Teck Resources Limited today announced significant progress on programs being funded through Teck’s Copper & Health program. This includes the installation of more than 400 antimicrobial patches on high-touch surfaces in Applied Science buildings, and research that will further the development of advanced copper coating technology to reduce the spread of infection.

    A door handle wrapped in a copper coating
    More than 400 antimicrobial copper patches have been installed in UBC Applied Science buildings

    Health Canada-registered copper patches have been installed in public areas on surfaces including door handles and railings in nine Applied Science buildings. Manufactured by the Canadian company Coptek Copper Covers, the patches are self-sanitizing adhesive copper covers that are registered with Health Canada and the US Environmental Protection Agency, proven to continuously kill 99.9 per cent of bacteria on surfaces within two hours of contact. Antimicrobial copper patches will create a safer work and learning environment for students, faculty and staff due to copper’s natural antimicrobial properties.

    The installations were completed in two phases with 80 patches installed during the first phase in November 2021 followed by 365 in February 2022.

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    A worker wearing a face mask and baseball hat carefully installs a copper patch on a door handle

    In addition, Teck’s Copper and Health program also provided funding to Dr. Amanda Clifford, an assistant professor from the Department of Materials Engineering for research to develop advanced copper coating technology. The new coating is expected to outperform pure copper in terms of reducing the spread of aggressive infections contracted through contaminated surfaces in hospitals and other health care settings. The research results will go through a peer review process and are expected to be released this year.

    As Canada’s top copper producer, Teck is committed to raising awareness and advocating for the use of copper as an innovative solution to healthcare-acquired infections, as well as infections resulting from bacteria spread in busy public spaces through its Copper and Health program.

    Together, the copper patch installation and copper coating research will advance the use of antimicrobial copper in creating safer environments in busy public spaces like UBC and in healthcare settings as an innovative solution to healthcare-acquired infections.

    "It's important that we work with industry leaders like Teck, who display a commitment to innovation and sustainability,” said James Olson, Dean, UBC Faculty of Applied Science. “When we work together, we're able to quicken our research and see its impact in the real world.”“Teck is proud to partner with UBC Applied Science on this installation of antimicrobial copper in high-traffic spaces to create a safer environment for students and staff,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO, Teck. “Thank you to the UBC Applied Science and materials engineering department for their leadership in conducting research to advance technology for antimicrobial copper surfaces which will support making our communities safer.”

    In addition to the installation in UBC Applied Science buildings, Teck has installed antimicrobial copper covers in B.C. hospitals including Vancouver General Hospital, Lions Gate Hospital and Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and on transit vehicles for TransLink and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Teck is also committed to installing copper surfaces in the Teck Emergency Department at the new St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver as well as Team Canada training facilities in Toronto and Calgary.

    Antimicrobial patches were installed in the following buildings:

    • Frank Forward Building
    • Chemical & Biological Engineering Building
    • Civil and Mechanical Engineering Building
    • Fred Kaiser Building
    • Frederic Lasserre Building
    • Pulp & Paper Centre
    • School of Nursing
    • The Rusty Hut
    • West Mall Annex (SCARP)
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