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Corrosion ; 77(4):370-375, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1167963


In CORROSION’S June 2020 editorial,1 we explored the COVID-192 pandemic and the antimicrobial function of copper and silver enabled by corrosion. Since that editorial was written, we have gone from 2.1 million confirmed infections and over 143,000 related deaths worldwide3 to 114,582,356 cases and 2,541,808 deaths as of March 1, 2021, according to the John Hopkins University COVID-19 Dashboard.3 A cause of this large increase is the high rate of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the coronavirus disease COVID-19), which is 40-fold greater than that of SARS-CoV-1.4 Recently, a more highly contagious mutation has been reported which makes this virus (referred to as the COVID-19 virus throughout this editorial) even more transmittable.5 This makes the COVID-19 virus even more difficult to control4 than SARS-CoV-1. Surgical masks are often made of three different fiber layers to prevent the entry of viruses: the outside layer is designed to stop liquids from traveling inwards towards the face, mouth, and nose without encountering an obstacle;an interlayer acts as a barrier against viruses and bacteria;and an inner layer absorbs moisture exhaled by the wearer.7,8 Different materials can be synthesized to act as protective coatings where the fabric can be designed to control pore size relative to airborne aerosol and particulate dimensions,4 as well as function in other ways such as by electrostatic attraction of aerosol particles. (a) Possible pathways for transmission of the COVID-19 virus involving human atomization of viruses during the coughing or sneezing of an infected person. Elemental copper and silver10 possess intrinsic antimicrobial properties that are enabled by corrosion which releases free metal cations.25,32,34 The free ions are distinct from copper ion sequestering in the oxide layer formed over the surface of the alloy or dissolved but chelated (to form a compound usually with an organic species in the environment, whereupon the organic is bonded to the copper ion) with some molecular species in solution.25,32,34-37 Inactivation time (>99.9% reduction) of Escherichia coli (HCB1) and Legionella pneumophila bacteria in various soluble [Cu2+] concentrations. Because the corrosion thermodynamics, kinetics, and the stability of the oxidized products formed can all differ with the molecular identity of the product, inoculum, saliva,40 and perspiration “solution chemistry,”32 these considerations need to be evaluated carefully to fully understand the efficacy of both Cu as a surface disinfectant and Cu compounds as disinfecting agents impregnated in PPE.