Interpol warns: “Fake COVID-19 vaccines”. How to avert the risk?

04 Dec, 2020

When first, after having hit China, Covid-19 started spreading in Europe and then also in America, many false news started circulating about the virus. The more the illness was diffusing the more fake information were becoming “viral” among the world population.

First it was about the virus origin, then about its laboratory-made chemical structure and then about its dangerousness. Subsequently, after serological and rapid tests were developed, their counterfeited versions started being diffused too.

COVID-19 vaccine counterfeiting, a risk to life and health

In the storm of this global pandemic in which we have been drowning since last year, the only life jackets seem to be vaccines. But even this hope of being rescued by the huge effort of the scientific research could be compromised by counterfeiting. In fact, the emergency in which we are, triggered unprecedented opportunistic illicit behavior and generated of a new wave of criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of Covid-19 vaccines.

Interpol warning on COVID-19 vaccines

On December the 2nd 2020, Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement across its 194 member countries warning them to prepare for organized crime networks targeting COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online. (1) As a number of COVID-19 vaccines come closer to approval and global distribution, ensuring the safety of the supply chain and identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential.

Anti-counterfeiting and anti-tampering solutions for pharmaceutical products

In this scenery, it would be advisable for pharmaceutical companies to adopt an anticounterfeiting solution like the one developed by Authena. This consists in a physical-digital tag that could seal each single dose. The interactive tag is integrated with a blockchain encrypted protection and communicates via NFC. Through a simple tap of a smartphone it would be possible to verify the vaccine’s integrity, authenticity and expiration date. Authena technology also allows product opening detection to prevent the fraudulent refilling of empty vials. Plus, through a secured traceability system, companies and public authorities could easily monitor the distribution and the administration campaign in each country in real time.

Alessandro Tacconelli

Fake COVID-19 vaccines