As a shareholder in a company that mines copper, I’m always looking for good news about this metal. I was aware of its antibacterial and antiviral properties –they give new meaning to the term “Dr. Copper“- but wasn’t bright enough to think of using it in a phone case like these enterprising students from Vanderbuilt. Although, apparently, they’re not alone.

In March of this year, Dormalen et al. reported that they detected no viable SARS-CoV-2 particles after 4 hours of exposure to a copper surface, whereas some of the virus was still kicking after up to 72 hours of exposure to stainless steel or plastic.

Will a copper phone case help protect you from Covid-19? Time and science will tell. The Vanderbuilt students’ company is called Aeris. I chatted with one of the founders, Nick O’Brien, over Linkedin. He told me that they are planning on testing their phone case against SARS-Cov-2 in a study (he said it will be the first of its kind) and they are currently conducting a pre-seed investing round.

Why isn’t copper more broadly adopted to help protect us against bugs like SARS-Cov-2? I reached out to Professor Bill Keevil at the University of Southampton to ask this question. He referred me to a 2017 article he wrote that attempted to answer it. Vox wrote a similar one wherein they mention using copper in gyms.

If my ex-gym, LA Fitness, had copper weights, I might feel more comfortable returning to it. I say “ex-” because I recently cancelled my wife’s and my membership. (I’m grateful that we have a home gym.) Though, I really don’t plan on going back to a commercial gym until we have an effective vaccine that’s in widespread use.

I hope we continue to see greater adoption of copper. We need all the help we can get.