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This portable device will help you detect containated medicines

An Indian-origin researcher is developing a low-cost, portable device to detect tainted medicines and food supplements that otherwise can make their way to consumers.

Written by Agencies |Published : February 3, 2016 5:44 PM IST

An Indian-origin researcher is developing a low-cost, portable device to detect tainted medicines and food supplements that otherwise can make their way to consumers. There is a big problem with counterfeit and sub-standard medicines in poorer countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, said Soumyajit Mandal, assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, US. Mandal and his collaborators are developing a small, box-like detector that has been preliminary tested in field trials. Current results are very promising and have advantages over competing methods, Mandal said. The required instrumentation is simple and low-cost, compared to other analytical techniques, such as optical spectroscopy, he noted. The device uses Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance (NQR) spectroscopy, a non-invasive and non-destructive analytical technique for medicines and supplements in pill or powder form. Mandal's research team proposes what it calls a chemometric passport approach for quality assurance. (Read: iDoc -- Could a smartphone app actually replace a human)

Data on packaged medicines will be derived from a spectroscopic analysis performed at the point of manufacture. The contents of the packet will later be authenticated by matching the results of another spectroscopic analysis using unique chemical identifiers from a reference spectrum. Authentication information can be accessed either from a secure database stored in the cloud, or from information encoded directly within the product barcode. The absence of a match triggers a contents don't match the label alarm on the testing device. Mandal said that capability would be particularly useful at customs checkpoints and postal sorting offices when a barcode might not be visible. (Read: MediSafe The medicine reminder app)

The work builds on -- and improves -- a related project introduced in Europe a few years ago to create a portable, low-cost detector for medicines, he said. Mandal said the detector he and his colleagues are developing is much more flexible (capable of analysing a wide variety of medicines and dietary supplements), and more sensitive or capable of measuring smaller quantities. The findings will be published in the journal IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. (Read: Now a smart medicine bottle that will remind you take your pills!)

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Source: IANS

Photo source: Getty images (Image for representational purpose only)


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