Counterfeited drugs have always been a big concern. However, scientists have introduced small fluorescent tags that can help them in dealing with this issue?
FREMONT, CA: These days, sales of fake drugs have become very common across the globe. The outcome turns out to be the majority of patients not receiving essential treatments, while others get harmed by ingesting whatever the elements are present inside the counterfeit pills. The researchers at Purdue University have recently come up with a method to tag medications so that fraudsters are unable to do the same to their fakes.
Tiny digestible films are created by the researchers, made up of proteins that are capable of sticking to tablets and pills, and have fluorescent particles that show digital signatures that are hard to copy. These ‘edible unclonable functions’ are a variation on physical unclonable functions that are developed for hardware security and for verifying data source credibility.
The tags are made of silk protein and one of a number of differed colored fluorescent proteins. These tags fluoresce on exposing it to an LED light source. When activated each time, they produce a distinct pattern, making them very difficult to replicate. In fact, it becomes nearly impossible for the original maker to recreate it. The different patterns made by the tags possess a digital security key, which is embedded within them that can be authenticated through an appropriate computer vision algorithm. Besides, this can be built into a smartphone application as well, and if the phone has the appropriate kind of light source that can activate the tag, it can be utilized for checking the validity of the drug to which the tag is attached.
The fluorescence key, along with the security key, is also capable of encoding other data such as the expiry date of the drug, who manufactured it, and other relevant data that might be essential to regulators, patients, and drug makers.
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