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May 11th, 2023   •    Feature Press Releases

University of Missouri Laboratory for Infectious Disease Study Finds Technology Used in Widely Deployed Fingerprint Scanners Kills The Virus that Causes COVID-19

Study Reveals Electroluminescent Film-Based Fingerprint Scanners Are One of the Safest Things to Touch in Public

May 9, 2023 Columbia, MO USA – Researchers at the University of Missouri Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research (LIDR) today released the results of a study indicating that electroluminescent (EL) film technology, found in widely deployed biometric fingerprint scanners, actively kills SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus). Biometric fingerprint scanners are used for identification at borders, airports, arenas, and other public facilities. The study, conducted by Drs. Paul Anderson and Jeffrey Whyte at the University of Missouri Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research, should help to alleviate public fear of contracting COVID-19 via fingerprint scanners.

Concern for the transmission of germs via highly trafficked public touch points such as door handles and elevator buttons became heightened during the pandemic. Fingerprint capture devices were also met with increased hesitation. In addition to reluctant users, facilities employing biometric identification to strengthen public security have experienced lost productivity, due to the constant disinfection, slowing of fingerprint identification or forcing the use of less reliable biometric modalities.

The University of Missouri study, which examined transmission of live samples of SARS-CoV-2, revealed that the EL-based technology used in fingerprint scanners actively kills the coronavirus through the electric field created during the collection process. Accurate fingerprint identification requires just a two-second touch, after which more than 90 percent of coronavirus from an infected person during deposition is killed. When combined with the 90 percent reduction during the next scan, protection against transmission between individuals increases to 99 percent or greater.

The team of infectious disease researchers conducted their tests using a Light Emitting Sensor (LES) device designed and manufactured by Integrated Biometrics. The company employs EL-based film technology in its fingerprint scanners, which are used in the United States at CLEAR ME kiosks in airports and event arenas, as well as US land, air and sea border crossings managed by the US Customs and Border Protection agency (US CBP).

“Dr. Anderson and my area of expertise focuses on the examination of contagious illnesses and comprehending the ways in which a virus spreads,” said Dr. Whyte, University of Missouri. “The purpose of our investigation was to assess the effect on the SARS-CoV-2 virus when exposed to the LES technology. Results indicate that rapid identification through use of biometric scanners are both safe and effective while also reducing risk to public health and safety.”

Press Contact:
For media inquiries about the news, please contact Kimberly Angell

“After facing so many unknowns since the start of the pandemic, the findings announced today should ease public concern regarding transmission of COVID-19 via fingerprint scanning, and in turn increase efficiency at checkpoints,” said Fred Frye, Integrated Biometrics, Chief Scientist. “Additionally, our global customer base can take pride in knowing that the technology, which has been in the field for the last 20 years, has been providing a valuable service.”

The patented LES devices provide accurate biometric identification at borders in over 100 countries, Border agencies throughout Europe have implemented LES technology, as well as African and Asian nations for their election and national ID initiatives. The World Food Program, Red Cross, and United Nations have also employed LES technology to provide verifiable identity in many of their initiatives throughout the world.

After facing so many unknowns since the start of the pandemic, the findings announced today should ease public concern regarding transmission of COVID-19 via fingerprint scanning, and in turn increase efficiency at checkpoints – Fred Frye, Integrated Biometrics, Chief Scientist

Read the full University of Missouri methodology and study here.

About University of Missouri Laboratory for Infectious Disease Research (LIDR)
The LIDR at the University of Missouri is one of 12 NIAID-supported RBLs in the US. It provides a secure, state-of-the-art facility for collaborative research on high-consequence pathogens, including BSL-3 and CDC Tier 1 Select Agents. With 10,000 net square feet of shared research space, the LIDR houses specialized laboratories and equipment for immunology and cellular microbiology experiments on live-pathogen samples. The facility serves the needs of researchers in biodefense and emerging infectious diseases where inactivating pathogens in samples may be difficult or harmful to the immune response.


About Integrated Biometrics
Integrated Biometrics (IB), a pioneer in biometric fingerprint technology, designs and manufactures advanced, high-resolution touchless and FBI-certified contact identity solutions for government, law enforcement, military, social services, and a wide range of commercial applications. IB’s lightweight scanners, supported by our patented light-emitting sensor (LES) technology, outperform traditional fingerprint devices in size, power consumption, portability, and reliability. Global organizations rely on IB’s products to enroll and verify identities quickly and accurately, even in remote locations under extreme conditions. Commercial enterprises, government and financial services organizations depend on IB to build innovative, secure applications to establish identity in accordance with national and international standards. For more information, visit: https://www.integratedbiometrics.com.

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