For safe transportation and storage of vaccines
1.5 mio of children below 5 years old die each year due to lack of vaccination. About 50% of vaccines are wasted each year while in transit, due to exposure to inappropriate temperatures that reduce their effectiveness in preventing disease. One main reason behind this is the lack of continuity in the cold supply chain from production/manufacture to usage. Temperature management along the chain is the most effective means to reduce this.
Project idea originated from Mr. Coll McDougall Hunter from Hunter Global tracking
The major scientific challenge is in material science. The objective on one hand is to develop low cost materials for high grade insulation in increase holdover time of the vaccine box. On the other hand, it is to develop materials with high heat and mass transfer to enhance active refrigeration techniques.
The EssentialTech Centre and SolidarMed aim to develop a low-cost, shock-resistant, lightweight, environmentally-friendly and autonomous cold box for transporting and storing vaccines, in collaboration with laboratories from EPFL. The device would require minimal maintenance and provide refrigeration between 2 and 8°C for several weeks at ambient temperature.
The current project focuses on a first stage research and bench testing, including the consolidation of cold box specifications and the exploration of business model options.
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Prof. Wendy Lee Queen