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Noninvasive vaccine tester: Vaccine forgery detector

by Hannu Harjunmaa

A new invention checks refractive index and cloudiness of a vaccine without opening the bottle. The readings are compared with a previously measured reference vial. US Pat. 10,139,340 and 10,234,386.
HOLDEN, MA United States Medical Device COVID-19 Cross Clubhouse Community Crowd challenge

All Team Company Patients Physicians Hospital Mission Innovation Details Supporters Comments Updates

About our project

The problem we solve: Counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines have shown up in at least 16 countries. This device checks the vaccine without opening the vial and alerts if a forgery is found. The measurement takes only seconds, so every vial can be checked at the vaccination site.

About our solution: The device is a combined refractometer and nephelometer. The vaccine vial is not opened. First, a reference vial is measured, and the readings are saved. Then the unopened vials to be tested are inserted one at a time and measured. Both readings must be close enough to the reference readings for the vial to be accepted. If the readings differ more than a preset amount, an alarm is sounded and displayed. An optional wireless module sends an alert to a central location.

Progress to date:

The refractometer and the nephelometer have been separately tested and patented. In this project, they will be combined into one device, using one common light source. A provisional patent application for the combination device has been filed.

About Our Team

Creator: Hannu Harjunmaa

Location: Massachusetts

Bio: Ph.D. in Physics, University of Helsinki. After dissertation, worked in Finland, Switzerland and the US in the medical device industry. The most important project in the US was on noninvasive blood glucose monitoring at Grove Instruments, Worcester, MA. Optics is my specialty. 25 US patents granted.

Title: President

Advanced Degree(s): Ph.D.

About Our Company

Valoa Technologies, Inc.

Location: 14 Damon Road
HOLDEN, MA 01520

Founded: 2015


Product Stage: Prototype/MVP

Employees: 1-2

How We Help Patients

The knowledge that this technology exists will make patients more confident that they are getting the right vaccine.

How We Help Physicians

Providers will feel good about the vaccines they administer, because they have the means to verify them.

How We Help Hospitals

Hospital management and staff will be confident that no bad vaccines will go into their patients.

Innovation Details

Intellectual Property Summary

Patents granted separately to refractometer (US 10,139,340) and nephelometer (US 10,234,386). Provisional patent application filed for the combination.

Patent Link,139,340.PN.&OS=PN/10,139,340&RS=PN/10,139,340

Clinical Information

The technology is entirely in vitro.

FDA approval: the refractometer does not require it, nor does the nephelometer. It is expected that the combination will not require it either.

Regulatory Status


How we will use the funds raised

Most of the money will go to Finish Line PDS of NH, to fund the product development project. Some will be used at Valoa for their part of the project. The President of Valoa is in charge of the optical design. Valoa will employ a Chief Engineer to serve as a liaison between Valoa and Finish Line.

Thank You

Counterfeit vaccines are a big problem. While it is important to catch the villains, it is even more important to maintain the public's confidence in the vaccines. This low-cost device, when deployed at vaccination sites, will serve as the last line of defense to prevent the public from getting a bad vaccine. 



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