Despite following strict hygiene standards, the risk of microbial infection in patient care facilities often exceeds risk levels. Hence, the focus on healthcare research has shifted to designing equipment and furnishing that is easy to clean, particularly no-touch disinfection interventions. Now a recent study, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, shows that copper beds could be the perfect solution for optimal self-disinfecting patient beds. 
The test was carried out at the ICU of Highpoint Health Hospital in Lawrenceburg, Indiana for 23 months. The setting was deliberately chosen for its high exposure to bacteria through the touch of patients and healthcare professionals. Plastic is the standard material in ICU beds. However, 90 percent of the test samples showed unsafe bacterial levels. Five beds, chosen for the study, were encapsulated with US-EPA registered antimicrobial copper materials.
The experimental copper beds were regularly monitored to assess the antimicrobial activity of the copper on the microbial presence. At the end of the study, the copper beds showed significantly less presence of microbes than the surfaces of the plastic control beds. Moreover, with routine and regular cleaning, the copper alloy remained untarnished and did not require any additional maintenance. This indicated the long-range efficacy of copper as a viable alternative for high-touch surfaces.