As the coronavirus continues to spread and new cases of COVID-19 are reported worldwide, public health authorities are working hard to answer the growing need for diagnostic test kits, while pharmaceutical companies are working hard to develop viable vaccines.

Equally hard at work are the counterfeiters and fraudsters whose fake test kits and vaccines are putting the public’s health, safety and economic security at risk.

In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against fake at-home test kits, while Europol launched a campaign urging citizens to stay away from the thousands of websites that claim to sell COVID-19 cures, tests or vaccines, all of which are fake and potentially dangerous.

During this time of global crisis, we cannot afford false hope and fake solutions that can only lead to further propagation of the virus, needless additional infections and senseless deaths.


Authentication is the key

The onus is on pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors and healthcare providers to ensure the security of their supply chains and the safety of citizens. In the context of the current crisis, they can do this by authenticating COVID-19 test kits and vaccines before they are administered to the public, not after.

Validating the authenticity of these and other medical items will be crucial during this crisis, which is why OPTEL has adapted its traceability technologies to help the pharmaceutical industry, government health authorities and the general public in the fight against COVID-19.

OPTEL recently joined forces with De La Rue, the world’s largest anti-counterfeiting and security specialist, to develop a mobile application that can not only authenticate medical items quickly but can also trace them geographically at every step of the supply chain.

The OPTEL AuthentiKit mobile app is designed to digitally authenticate COVID-19 test kits and vaccines before they are administered to the public. Each kit or vaccine is first marked with a unique identifier (UID) at the manufacturing level via a label supplied by De La Rue, the world’s largest anti-counterfeiting and security specialist.

The manufacturer must activate a data file of UIDs to OPTEL’s secured Verify Platform. Once activated, these test kits and vaccines can then be distributed to healthcare providers.

Before administering the tests or vaccines, healthcare providers must authenticate them by scanning the UID using the mobile app, which will either confirm their authenticity or flag them as unverifiable and therefore potentially counterfeit.

At this crucial and unprecedented time in our collective history, it is imperative that business, government and the general public work together to stem the tide of COVID-19, stop the counterfeiters and fraudsters who would stand between us, and secure a safer and sustainable future for all.