Finger prints can now show drug use

Intelligent Fingerprinting, a spin-out company from the University of East Anglia, has been awarded £425,000 by the Biomedical Catalyst – a programme run by the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board to accelerate innovative health-care products.

Intelligent Fingerprinting has developed drug screening technology to analyse the sweat in a fingerprint to reveal the recent drug-use history of an individual.

It provides results in 10 minutes using a portable hand-held device.  

A £135,000 award will fund a project in partnership with the University of Leicester to research the feasibility of using this technology for drug screening A&E patients on admission to hospital.

Many people admitted to A&E are under the influence of drugs – either legally prescribed medicines or drugs of abuse but, in an emergency situation, clinicians may be unaware of a patient’s medical or drug-use history. 

Without this knowledge there is a risk that medical staff will administer treatment which could be harmful, or even fatal.

The funding will be used to aid development of the handheld fingerprint testing device and prove its feasibility for use in accident and emergency situations by ambulance paramedics and at A&E admission.  

A second £290,000 award will fund a study in conjunction with coroners to trial non-invasive drug testing of dead people to establish how someone has died.

 This can be a time-consuming and costly process. Intelligent Finger printing’s technology can do it more quickly and cost effectively.

Intelligent Fingerprinting was one of 32 projects to receive a share of £39 million in funding from Biomedical Catalyst.

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