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Cocaine-testing 'breakthrough' at University of Surrey

3 minute read
Cocaine-testing 'breakthrough' at University of Surrey

Published at 6:00am 26th September 2017. (Updated at 6:27am 26th September 2017)

A new scientific breakthrough at the University of Surrey means cocaine tests can now be done in seconds.

The new highly sensitive fingerprint check shows whether someone has used the drug.

It is thought the new technology could see the tests used for law enforcement agencies to use within the next decade.

The team that has been carrying out the project was led by Dr Catia Costa and Dr Melanie Bailey, with research carried out with partners from the Netherlands Forensic Institute and Intelligent Fingerprinting.

According to the National Statistics Office, 1 in 12 adults aged 16 to 59 had taken illicit drugs in 2015/16.

Dr Bailey said: “This is a real breakthrough in our work to bring a real time, non-invasive drug-testing method to the market that will provide a definitive result in a matter of minutes – we are already working on a 30 second method.”

“And, as with previous methods we have developed, it is non-invasive, hygienic and can’t be faked – by the nature of the test, the identity of the subject, and their drug use, is all captured within the sample itself.”

Uni of Surrey

Dr Costa will now go around the world for three months to talk to people who may be interested in using it.

After spending lots of time in the lab throughout the project, she tells Eagle she is very much looking forward to sharing their findings internationally: "It is different for me because I've been in the lab for the past four years.

"It is good to get out there and talk to people not just about the science, but about the product.

"This is the outcome of the science, which is very different to what I've done before."

Dr Jerry Walker, Intelligent Fingerprinting's CEO said: "We have supported the University of Surrey research programmes for the last four years, and Dr Bailey and her team have shown time and again that they are the world’s leading group in fingerprint diagnostics research using mass spectrometry.

"We congratulate them in continuing to expand knowledge in the revolutionary field of fingerprint-based diagnostics."

 

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