According to Airfinity– a predictive health analytics agency based in London– over two hundred and forty million COVID-19 vaccine doses have passed their expiration date since the start of the inoculation campaign. Moreover, one hundred million more are set to expire by the end of 2022.
The preservation of these expensive and life-saving vaccines is crucial to maintaining public health and access.
But, keeping them viable is an extremely difficult task.
Many vaccines require specific temperature regulations, which can be hard to come by in developing regions where transport infrastructure is limited, and there is unreliable electricity.
So, researchers from ETH Zurich partnered with Nanoly Bioscience based in Colorado in hopes of curbing this vaccine expiration crisis.
Their goal is to reduce the cost of temperature regulation and improve the distribution of usable vaccines before they reach their expiration date.
Bruno Marco-Dufort, a researcher at EHT Zurich, described how accomplishing this feat will require scientists to work around mother nature.
“Think of it like an egg. At room temperature or in the refrigerator, the egg maintains its viscous-like protein structure. But, once it hits boiling water, its structure changes permanently,” Marco-Dufort said.
And, just like eggs, vaccines’ denaturation is irreversible.
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