TransLink to trial copper on surfaces to halt Covid-19 transmission

Posted: 13 November 2020 | | No comments yet

Surfaces will be swabbed and tested as part of the scheme to see if the copper is effective at killing bacteria and viruses, including the coronavirus which causes Covid-19 and norovirus.

TransLink orders 28 metros for Vancouver’s SkyTrain network

TransLink will trial the use of copper of on its SkyTrain rolling stock. Credit: Bombardier

TransLink, Vancouver’s public transport network, will be the first transit system in North America to pilot the use of bacteria and virus killing copper on high-touch surfaces. The project is part of a study that will see various copper-based products and a protective coating called organosilane installed on SkyTrain and buses to test how effective these agents are at destroying viruses and bacteria on public transport networks.

The network says there will be comprehensive testing as part of the initial four-week pilot phase: products will be installed on two trolley buses on high-ridership routes and two SkyTrain cars on the Expo and Millennium Lines.

The surfaces will be swabbed twice a week and tested to determine antimicrobial effectiveness of the products. At the end of one month, the surfaces will also be assessed for durability.

Kevin Desmond, TransLink CEO, said: “We’re proud to be the first transit agency in North America to pilot this industry-leading technology and I look forward to working closely with our project partners.

“We’ve been carefully examining new ways to ensure transit is one of the safest public spaces throughout the pandemic. The risk of COVID-19 transmission on transit remains extremely low and this initiative will only bolster our comprehensive cleaning protocols which are already in place.

“Any findings from this pilot project will be shared with our fellow transit agency colleagues and other industries which may be able to use this emerging technology.”

Dr. Marthe Charles, a Medical Microbiologist at Vancouver Coastal Health (who are supporting TransLink with the project), explained just how important this study is: “This project builds on preceding research and will increase our understanding of the effectiveness of copper in killing organisms on frequently-touched surfaces.

“Positive findings will then be used to study the impact of copper on bacteria and viruses such as COVID-19 and norovirus.

“This holds future infection control benefits not only for the public in their travels but for healthcare workers and patients who navigate their medical journey at Vancouver Coastal Health and beyond.”