The fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus is always at the back of our minds wherever we are, even at homes. In fact, medical professionals have advised us to regularly clean objects and surfaces that we touch regularly to prevent the spread of the virus the coronavirus can last for days on glass, plastics, and metal. However, one metal stands above the rest: copper.
Copper wires 
Researchers have discovered that viruses only live for a few hours, if not minutes, on copper surfaces. Dr. Bill Keevil PhD of the University of Southampton, UK has been researching on how viruses react to copper. He saw how virus strains were killed within minutes of being in contact with copper alloys, including the infamous Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Swine Flu (H1N1) . How is that so?
Many studies tried to understand the mechanism of the virus-killing copper alloys. As a metallic surface, it was shown that the two types of copper ions, Cu(I) and Cu (II), attack the VPg (viral protein genome-linked) protein that is responsible for the infectivity of the virus . Interestingly, only 500 virus particles remained after 6 hours on copper surfaces while ~500,000 were still alive on stainless steel surfaces after 24 hours . Even further, new materials are now being manufactured and have promising properties such as copper nanoparticles having antiviral activity as well .
Copper nanoparticles 
Of course, we must not dismiss these as just "research". These have public health implications that can help us decrease the impact of virus pandemics. Studies have demonstrated that the use of copper oxide application on face masks significantly improved the protection of people against the influenza A virus .
There hasn't been a lot of studies regarding the effect of copper against COVID-19, but material scientists are actively looking for ways materials can help curb the pandemic. It is exciting to learn about the medical possibilities and applications of metals and materials science. Who knows, maybe we can find new alloys and nanoparticles in the future that can be used to treat viruses and diseases!
 Image taken from Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/copper
 Morrison, J. (2020) Copper’s Virus-Killing Powers Were Known Even to the Ancients. Smithsonian Magazine. Taken from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/copper-virus-kill-180974655/
 Warnes, S.L.andKeevil, C.W.(2013)Inactivation of norovirus on dry copper alloy surfaces.PLoS ONE8,e75017.
 Noyce, J.O.,Michels, H.andKeevil, C.W.(2007)Inactivation of influenza A virus on copper versus stainless steel surfaces.Appl Environ Microbiol73,2748–2750.
 Fujimori, Y.,Sato, T.,Hayata, T.,Nagao, T.,Nakayama, M.,Nakayama, T.,Sugamata, R.andSuzuki, K.(2012)Novel antiviral characteristics of nanosized copper(I) iodide particles showing inactivation activity against 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus.Appl Environ Microbiol78,951–955.
 Synthesis of Copper Nanoparticles by Electroreduction Process - Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/SEM-picture-of-pure-copper-nanoparticles_fig6_224812852 [accessed 20 May, 2020]
 Borkow, G.,Zhou, S.S.,Page, T.andGabbay, J.(2010)A novel anti‐influenza copper oxide containing respiratory face mask.PLoS ONE5,e11295.