University medics in trials of life-saving drug test kit
Doctors will be using the sweat from patients' fingerprints to test them for drugs.
The University of Leicester has been given a grant of £135,000 to see if it is feasible to use new technology which has been developed by a company called Intelligent Fingerprinting Ltd, a spin-off company from the University of East Anglia.
Professor Tim Coats, professor of emergency medicine at the Leicester University and an A&E consultant at Leicester Royal Infirmary, will be testing the device.
He said: "If a patient is brought into the emergency department unconscious we need to know if they have high levels of drugs in their body.
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"Current tests take many hours so being able to analyse the sweat in a fingerprint could tell an A&E doctor what is wrong with the patient."
Dr Paul Yates, business development for Intelligent Fingerprinting, said: "Our technique for detecting the presence of drugs in a person's bloodstream by analysing a simple fingerprint could help doctors to make better informed decisions about appropriate treatments."
The money will be used to develop a hand-held fingerprint testing device and to see how feasible it is for use. The cash for the project is part of a £39 million Government health care grant.