“The best laid plans of mice and men, oft go astray”, was how Robert Burns put it. And wise words they were. Unfortunately, the echoes of that wisdom are heard loudly in the current COVID-19 pandemic. All over the world and notably in the worst affected countries, examples of painstakingly prepared pandemic plans were made. In the United States, the exact type of virus that created the biggest risk for a pandemic was named in contingency plans: “Coronavirus”. It would be a mistake to try and simplify a solution, because the problem is anything but simple. At one point, the demand for personal protective equipment was so great that the French government implored its luxury brands to pitch in and help with the effort. And pitch in they did: the EU even backed a French effort to turn unsold wine into hand sanitizer, and it was done with millions of hectoliters of the stuff. Despite those efforts, counterintuitive problems have arisen. France now has too many face masks – millions more than they need and that the French really want to be used. Ironically, once the equipment was available and sitting in warehouses, French hospitals had nurses begging for face masks. How could this happen? There’s also the proliferation of bold fraudsters to consider, those cashing in on the confusion and demand with impunity.

“Meanwhile the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) has opened up a new field for ineffective, overpriced or even non-existent goods. Two factors have helped the criminals: the waiving of normal procurement controls by governments desperate to protect their health workers; and the impossibility of arranging face-to-face meetings between customers and suppliers.”

THE ECONOMIST – “The Pandemic is Creating Fresh Opportunities For Organized Crime”– May 16, 2020
Scantrust provides a logistics solution as well as a way to confirm product authenticity, with just a smartphone and a QR code

A fake face mask is one thing, but what about a fake vaccine? This isn’t the theme for a science fiction epic – it’s already happening with COVID-19 test kits and it is almost certainly happening all over the world with fake vaccines. The solution to the pandemic has been hailed as nothing less than a COVID-19 vaccine with several of these already in the final stages of trials. The bad news is that there will be a severe shortage of vaccine doses. By the end of 2020, high risk people are expected to receive the first available doses and factories are already busy producing those to get ahead of massive demand, yet infections are accumulating in the tens of thousands per day. This adds up to there just won’t be enough.

Scantrust was founded to specifically deal with the world’s counterfeit problem. The relevance now is hardly more obvious. But after the better part of a decade as an innovator in connected packaging technology, we’ve developed turnkey tools that also help ensure the efficient distribution of goods, to show where products have come from and where they end up. We’ve honed our edge on commercial use cases with clients like AB Inbev, Unilever, LVMH, and Abbott Nutrition. It’s now time for us to turn this technology out to help not just brands but people all over the world to overcome this challenge. Even Robbie Burns would agree, a little help can’t hurt and as he might have said, it’s high time we got to work.

Featured image by WONG CAMPION / REUTERS