This video is the copyright of Oxford University 2010 and first appeared here on 18 Feb 2010.
This is very exciting. Watch the video to get the full story. Basically, a team at the Jenner Institute have come up with a way to store the active ingredients of a vaccine on a small square membrane which does not need to be stored in a fridge. Traditionally, vaccines need to be refrigerated from the time they are produced to the moment they are injected. This causes huge logistical problems as the whole of the distribution system needs to be kept cold. In practice this means that thousands and thousands of children do not get the vaccines they need.
At the moment the ColaLife idea can do nothing to address this problem because the AidPods would be exposed to the elements and could get very hot. So AidPods could not be used to distribute traditional vaccines. But they could be used to distribute these new ‘heat-stable vaccines’. In the video Dr Matt Jennings claims that vaccines produced in this way are stable for 6 months at temperatures of 45°C which is incredible.
‘Currently vaccines need to be stored in a fridge or freezer,’ explains lead author Dr Matt Cottingham of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford. ‘That means you need a clinic with a nurse, a fridge and an electricity supply, and refrigeration lorries for distribution.
‘If you could ship vaccines at normal temperatures, you would greatly reduce cost and hugely improve access to vaccines,’ he says. ‘You could even picture someone with a backpack taking vaccine doses on a bike into remote villages.’
‘We’ve shown that a very simple way of heat-stabilising vaccines works for two viruses that are being used as the basis for novel vaccines in development,’ says principal investigator Professor Adrian Hill of Oxford University. ‘This is so exciting scientifically because these viruses are fragile. If we are able to stabilise these, other vaccines are likely to be easier.’
They are now looking to put a commercial strategy in place for the development of the technology.