Making door handles, taps and light switches from copper could help defeat antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to scientists.
A study has found that copper fittings rapidly killed bugs on hospital wards, succeeding where other infection control measures failed.
It is believed that the metal 'suffocates' germs, preventing them from breathing. It may also stop them from feeding, and destroy their DNA.
Lab tests show that the metal kills off the deadly MRSA and C difficile superbugs. It also kills other dangerous germs, including the flu virus and the E coli food poisoning bug.
During the ten-week trial on a medical ward, a set of taps, a lavatory seat and a push plate on an entrance door were replaced with copper versions. The copper items had up to 95 percent fewer bugs on their surface than non-copper versions whenever they were tested.