Experimental fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled cocaine

An experimental fingerprint detection technique can determine traces of cocaine on human skin, even after somebody has actually cleaned their hands – and the test is likewise wise adequate to inform whether a person has really taken in the class A drug, or merely handled it.

In a paper released in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports, a series of experiments by the University of Surrey information how it is possible to perform drug screening precisely and painlessly utilizing a single fingerprint sample. For drug screening, it is essential to be able to distinguish those who have handled cocaine from those who have consumed it due to the fact that the legal implications are various (for instance, think about drug driving) – the brand-new research study shows that this is possible for the very first time utilizing high resolution mass spectrometry methods.

An effective, commercially-available fingerprint drug screening system, utilizing lateral circulation assay technology and fluorescence-labelled antibodies to selectively spot particular drugs or their metabolites in eccrine sweat gathered from finger prints, is currently readily available for point of care usage from Intelligent Fingerprinting – who likewise provide a fingerprint-based lab verification service which utilizes Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry methods.

The group, from University of Surrey, Forensic Science Ireland, National Physical Laboratory and Intelligent Fingerprinting, took finger prints from individuals looking for treatment at drug rehab centers who had actually affirmed to taking cocaine throughout the previous 24 hours. Finger prints were gathered from each client, and the individuals were then asked to clean their hands completely with soap and water prior to offering another set of finger prints. This exact same procedure was utilized to gather samples from a swimming pool of drug non-users who had actually touched street cocaine.

The scientists at Surrey utilized their world-leading experimental fingerprint drug screening technique (based upon fast, high resolution mass spectrometry) to cross-reference the details from the drug non-users who had actually touched cocaine with that of volunteers who affirmed consuming it. They discovered that a particle produced in the body when cocaine is consumed, benzoylecgonine, is important in identifying those who have taken in the class A drug from those who have handled it. Benzoylecgonine was not present in samples from drug non-users, even after touching street cocaine and after that cleaning their hands.

Dr Min Jang stated: “A fingerprint is a great way to test for drugs as it is so quick and efficient to collect. Using our methodology, it is possible to analyse a fingerprint sample for drugs in less than 2 minutes”.

Dr Catia Costa from the University of Surrey stated: “We are excited about the possibilities for fingerprint drug testing. In addition to illicit drugs, we have found that we can detect pharmaceutical drugs in fingerprints and we are keen to see if we can use this to help patients to check that their medication is being delivered at the right dose.”

Dr Melanie Bailey from the University of Surrey stated: We believe this research study is actually substantial as our lab test utilizing high resolution mass spectrometry can discriminate between an individual who has actually touched a drug and somebody who has really consumed it – simply by taking their finger prints.

Professor David Russell, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Intelligent Fingerprinting, stated: “This University of Surrey laboratory study into cocaine testing using experimental high resolution mass spectrometry techniques validates the approach Intelligent Fingerprinting took when originally commercialising our portable fingerprint-based drug screening system for use at the point-of-care. Because our commercially-available test detects both cocaine traces and benzoylecgonine – the major metabolite of cocaine – our customers have been successfully using fingerprint-based drug tests since the Summer of 2017 to determine whether cocaine has actually been taken.”


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