As the United States continues to struggle with a shortage of N95 masks needed to combat the deadly coronavirus, the Food and Drug Administration announced on April 3 that it has approved the use of KN95 masks in the country.
Unlike N95 masks that are tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research agency, KN95 masks are regulated by the Chinese government. Although there are minor differences between N95 and KN95 masks, a growing concern around the authenticity of KN95 masks has come to fruition.
An FDA spokesperson stated in a recent CNN article that KN95 masks were not listed in its initial FDA emergency use authorization because of “challenges in determining the authenticity” of the imports coming from China, a region accounting for 80% of the world’s counterfeits.
David Menard, the CEO and founder of Real Items Company — a technology firm that aims to reduce counterfeits using blockchain — said that following the announcement that KN95 masks would be used in the U.S., he reached out to KN95 mask manufacturers in China to explain how blockchain can be applied to ensure product authenticity. He told Cointelegraph:
“I’m aware that there are a number of fraudulent KN95 masks being produced today. After hearing these masks would be used in America, I was staying up 24-hours a day to get a hold of a factory in China that would use Real Item’s technology to guarantee authenticity for their KN95 masks.”
Real Items is currently piloting a Shopify plugin that is designed to ensure authentic items are sold to online shoppers. That same technology, which is powered by VeChain’s public blockchain, will now be applied to track and trace KN95 masks back to their source of manufacturing.
According to Menard, Real Items has formed a partnership with Tricol Group, which is a division of Tricol Trading Company, one of the largest microfiber manufacturers in Asia. The…