Vaccine Cold Chain
Diseases like polio have been eradicated in many countries through vaccination, however, they are still prominent in large parts of the developing world. One of the greatest challenges to reaching children for vaccination is the sensitive nature of vaccines themselves, vaccines must be kept at precise temperatures until use to prevent spoiling. The system utilized to maintain these temperatures during storage and delivery from manufacture to the people who need it is called the “cold chain.” Unfortunately, many parts of the developing world lack the infrastructure to maintain reliable cold chains and store vaccines at these precise temperatures. As a result, countless lifesaving vaccines spoil before they’re administered and more importantly over 2 million children die each year because they are not immunized against preventable diseases.
As part of Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good program, our team at Intellectual Ventures Lab is developing an insulated container to strengthen and extend vaccination services in developing countries. Global Good’s Vaccine Cold Chain Dewar is designed to keep vaccines at the appropriate temperatures for a month or more with repeat vaccine retrievals and no need for electricity. The Dewar combines the best attributes of vaccine cold boxes and stationary refrigerators currently used in the cold chain. Unlike other vaccine cold boxes, the Dewar holds temperatures for at least a month instead of only one to five days, and unlike refrigerators, it is transportable, low cost, low maintenance, and can be used anywhere.
The Vaccine Cold Chain Dewar uses super insulation techniques similar to those used to store cryogenic fluids; its design is specific to vaccine storage and can maintain the necessary temperatures for months using only ice. Vaccines can then be retrieved without jeopardizing the remaining vials and the insulated container can remain in the field for repeated use.
To learn more, read what our Cofounder Nathan Myhrvold has to say about our Vaccine Cold Chain Dewar in Seed Magazine.