A Test that Can Detect Cocaine in Seconds Using a Fingerprint

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Imagine being able to know if someone has been using cocaine recently in just seconds using a fingerprint.

That’s exactly what a team of researchers have been doing and made possible.

A team from the institutions in the Netherlands have developed a paper-based test that can detect in just seconds whether someone has been using cocaine recently. The research was funded by Intelligent Fingerprinting, a company that does fingerprint-based drug tests, as well as the National Institute for Health Research in the UK.

The exciting part is that the method can possibly be utilized for many other substance and the researchers are intending to make a business case for it as a safe, quick, and highly accurate way of detecting a variety of drugs.

The findings from the researchers was posted in the journal Clinical Chemistry

The team used a technique called “paper spray mass spectrometry.” By measuring the mass of its molecules, you can determine the identity of a substance. A total of 39 people were tested, some were users of cocaine while some weren’t. The test was 99% effective.

“It can detect cocaine and metabolites of which is further proof that cocaine has gone through the body and is excreted,” said lead researcher Catia Costa in an interview with CNBC.

Costa is a researcher at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom.

According to Costa, the sample can be analyzed in just 30 seconds.