VeriChip Corporation currently sells a small, under-the-skin Radio Frequency Identification capsule, or RFID, that patients can opt to have implanted, containing a number computer-linked to their medical records, enabling doctors with a special reader to access the information even if the patient is unconscious or unidentified. The company boasts its microchip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, is the only such implant approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
But VeriChip has also turned its attention to other uses for the technology, including microchips that be used to tag and log human remains after a disaster and implants the company hopes will be able to warn if their host is infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus, the H5N1 bird flu virus or other pandemic agents deemed to be a "bio-threat."
As we continue to build on our partnership with Receptors, which started with the development of a glucose-sensing RFID implantable microchip, we are moving beyond patient identification to sensors that can detect and identify illnesses and viruses such as influenza," said Scott R. Silverman, chairman of VeriChip, in a statement. "This is an exciting next step for the future of our healthcare division."
According to a statement, the company sold a VeriTrace system, including 1,000 RFID microchips, to Kentucky's Green River District Health Department "for disaster preparedness and emergency management needs."