When copper salts are mixed with substances containing thiol groups, complexes are formed whose composition is determined by the concentration of the two components. After mixing copper and thiol compounds in certain concentrations the mixtures became strongly virucidal for T3, T5 and φX 174 phages, while T2 and T4 were affected only at higher concentrations of copper. Unless otherwise stated, coliphage T5 was used as test organism in these experiments.

Together with a final concentration of 5 × 10 -CuCl the thiol compounds cysteine and dithio-pentaerythrite at certain concentrations had a strong virucidal activity, while no such activity was demonstrated for the corresponding disulphide compounds (Fig. 1). Dithio-pentaerythrite but not cysteine was active with a CuCl concentration of 5 × 10 . At this copper concentration thioglycollic acid, 2,3-dimercaptopropanol and dihydrothioctic acid were also virucidal, while glutathione was active only with 5×10 -CuCl, and the disulphide compound thioctic acid (α-lipoic acid) was inactive even at the higher concentration of copper.


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