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Copper 3D Cuprionix® materials validated for effectiveness against Human Coronavirus

Forms joint venture with Petrochem to scale up distribution globally

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Copper3D, a pioneering company in antimicrobial materials for extrusion 3D printing, has lived through an intense 2020, a period that dominated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with a global effort to find effective solutions to protect people from this virus, as well as hundreds of other microorganisms dangerous to humans. Copper3D was active in infectious control development well before the Coronavirus pandemic began. The company was founded in January 2018 in Santiago, Chile, the world’s biggest producer of copper with significant experience in antimicrobial solutions based on this element.

Since its inception, Copper3D has grown rapidly, recording several achievements, and has built a global network of more than 20 distributors worldwide, with sales to more than 50 countries. The company has been awarded two NASA research funds, in addition to recognitions that include being considered among the top 5 global companies that are impacting the 3D printing materials sector, with a mention in the prestigious World Economic Forum.

Fig 1. Antimicrobial applications 3D printed with Copper3D materials

Antimicrobial additive tested against Human Coronavirus

Copper3D has been working for the last two and a half years to validate its materials as powerful “active materials”, capable of eliminating a wide range of microbes dangerous to humans. Since last year the company also began validating the materials’ potential against viruses, with validation for effectiveness against HIV as the first experience of this kind in laboratory settings.

Dr. Claudio Soto, Medical Director of Copper3D, said: “Laboratory validations with viruses have a much higher degree of complexity due to the additional safeguards that must be taken, the type of equipment and highly specialized personnel to perform this kind of tests, and the laboratories prepared for this type of studies are not commonly found as they require high biosafety levels”.

This is why Copper3D has chosen the Pasteur Institute (Lille, France) to carry out this new test against the Human Coronavirus.

“As a company, we are always looking for our materials to meet the highest industry standards and therefore we decided to test the antiviral capacity of the additive present in all Copper3D products (Cuprionix® additive), against Human Coronavirus strain 229E (HCoV-229E), under the EN14476 + A2 standard, with extraordinary results so far,” Dr. Soto mentioned, regarding this new validation.

Table 1. Viral Reduction in percentage scale.

Among what was observed, the additive shows a very high antiviral efficacy from the first 30 seconds. It is capable of reducing the viral load of the Coronavirus by +99.9% in less than one hour.

This process is very quick. In the first 30 seconds, there is a rapid decrease in viral load of 60.189% (Log 0,4); 90% (Log 1) reduction is recorded within 5 minutes until reaching a plateau near 60 minutes with 99.975% viral reduction (Log 3.6). (See Table 1).

On the other hand – and equally relevant – is the fact that this additive did not show any degree of cytotoxicity in this test, therefore we can conclude that it is also safe for use in applications that will be in contact with patients or animals.

The element that finally eliminates this virus (and other microorganisms) effectively are the copper ions released in a controlled manner by the additive, and functions mainly through two mechanisms of action:

First, the rupture of the envelope that covers and protects the virus from the external environment and, second, denaturalization (rupture) of the viral RNA, with which it is completely inactivated. (Fig 2)

Fig 2. Schematic diagram of the coronavirus. Credit: Binte Altaf. Mechanism of action of Cuprionix® additive by Copper3D


The Copper3D Petrochem alliance

The Copper3D team sees a promising future ahead based on the excellent results of their Cuprionix® antimicrobial additive technology.

“Today we have a powerful tool to deal not only with the Human Coronavirus but with a large number of potentially lethal microorganisms for humans,” Daniel Martínez, Director of Innovation of Copper3D, stated: “We visualize a very interesting future for our company as the number of applications in the 3D printing world and outside the 3D industry are enormous. In the 3D printing industry, we already have a path that we will complement with new materials in different additive manufacturing technologies, with validated and certified antimicrobial performance.

Regarding our Cuprionix® additive it can be combined with a wide range of polymeric materials that are used in the world of industrial manufacturing such as injection molding, thermoforming, or others. This year we had our first experience on Antimicrobial Injection Molding with the Nanohack Maverick mask that has already been tested in the laboratory, and in the short term we will see interesting antimicrobial solutions in several industries such as aeronautics, automotive, public transport, food packaging, office spaces, antimicrobial furniture/surfaces for hospitals, antimicrobial medical devices, products for moms and babies, paintings, coatings, as well as countless antimicrobial solutions in the world of mass consumer products, one of the first that comes to mind are cell phone cases, which have already been proven to have a very high bacterial load”.

Fig 3. Potential applications of antimicrobial additives and polymers.

This was the vision of the future that caught the eye of Petrochem. The giant firm approached Copper3D to start a collaboration on a new joint venture, that will scale this vision globally.

Petrochem is a company founded 25 years ago in UAE, currently the largest petrochemical distributor in the Middle East and Africa, with operations in UAE, India, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Together with Copper3D, they have been working for months to build a new company, based in UAE, that operates under the name of Cuprionix® and that will develop, manufacture and globally distribute antimicrobial additives, materials, and solutions based on this proven and effective technology.

“Our company has always been linked to innovation as a powerful tool to face great challenges and problems with a global impact,” said CEO Andrés Acuña. “We also understand our limitations and we know that there are many problems that we need to work on as an ecosystem to solve them, for this reason we believe so much in collaboration amongst industry and sector experts.”

“We believe that with this new alliance with Petrochem –  Acuña added – we can more quickly achieve the purpose we have set for ourselves as a company, which is to fight infections and save lives on a global scale”.

Rohan Mehta, Business Development Director of Petrochem, concluded with the following reflection on the future of Cuprionix® and the petrochemical industry:

“For us as a company, it is an honor to be able to work together with Copper3D, and we know that we can take their innovations to a global scale in a very short time.

I think that the petrochemical industry urgently needs to incorporate these types of innovations in order to develop intelligent materials, capable of achieving incredible feats. We firmly believe that the world urgently needs this type of antimicrobial additives, materials and solutions that will save lives. With this new Cuprionix® venture we can really make a difference, generate a very positive global impact in many industries, and effectively eliminate millions of infections and deaths, something that fills us with pride and motivates us, even more, to keep going. The time is now!’

This article was created in collaboration with Copper 3D

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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