Even in the world of medicine, what is old is new again.
Thousands of years ago, Egyptians used it to sterilize drinking water. Ancient Romans, Aztecs and Greeks also used it for medical treatments.
I am talking about copper which kills many germs on contact. Now it is back in hospitals to do just that.
One of the major ways we get sick is we touch surfaces out in the world, many made of metal or plastic. These surfaces are covered with germs. Germs live on poles on a train or bus. They are found on doorknobs and handles.
This is especially true in hospitals.
Bill Keevil is a microbiologist at Southampton University in Britain. He is investigating the properties of copper that kill germs — or as researchers call them, pathogens.
Keevil points to studies that compare infection rates at U.S. hospitals that use copper surfaces and those that do not.
“They found that copper alloys gave a 58 percent reduction in infection rate. So that showed, you know, that in the real world of a hospital environment, copper alloys do a great job (in preventing infection).”