Counterfeit Drug Testing Using QCM

An accessible, low cost, hand-held device for detecting counterfeit antimalarial drugs, using quartz crystal microbalance technology


Malaria kills approximately a million people each year, and although efforts to produce and distribute effective drugs has increased, there is a growing problem with forged medications. Counterfeit antimalarial drugs cause an estimated 120,000 deaths in Africa per year[1], and detection methods are too expensive and/or too technically complex. Our objective is the development of a low cost counterfeit drug detection system that can be easily used in low-resource settings. The system builds on open-source quartz crystal microbalance technology to detect the presence of the active drug and its concentration. Easily contained in a handheld device that will give real-time feedback to the user, our method ensures the efficacy of global health measures by contributing to effective malaria elimination in at-risk communities.

header image.png


The Team

Caitlyn Merry (primary contact),
MSt candidate in Social Innovation, secondary school Head of IT/Computer Science, and former lawyer. Expertise in computer science, education, law, policy and development. Contributing to overall management and progress of the project, developing software and working with electronics.

Antoine Zenie,
MPhil graduate in Advanced Chemical Engineering and current Consulting Energy Analyst for Delta Energy & Environment. Expertise in technology, chemistry, innovation and chemical engineering. Contributing to chemistry aspects of the project as well as supervision of research and development.

Iñigo Ayestaran,
MPhil candidate in Computational Biology who is currently doing an internship in Cancer Pharmacogenomics with AstraZeneca. Expertise in computer science, data analysis, statistics and biochemistry. Contributingto development of technical components, and overseeing software development and integration.

Jason Brenker,
PhD in microfluidics and acoustics, currently working on a Postdoc in bacterial sensors with the department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.  Contributing on designing and integrating the technical components of the device.

Svyatoslav Kechyin,
Trained physician, currently pursuing an MBA at Judge Business School. Experiences as a clinician in the NHS, and holds an Mres degree in Translational medicine. Contributing to experimentation with biological processes, and liaising with medical professionals.

Project Outputs

Project Report.png


Project report and documentation on Github



Original proposal and application