Heat Stable Vaccines: Need of the hour

Vaccines cold chain is strictly followed throughout the world otherwise; vaccines may get spoiled before it reaches the destination. Since several years, scientists across the globe are working round the clock to innovate means that can help to produce vaccines that can be kept safe even without following cold chain module.

Generally, vaccines are required to be kept between 2-8°C (36-46°F). While transporting from the production center to the end consumer, it is seriously maintained under the prescribed temperature. But, that may not be as easy as it sounds in day to day life, because the end destination might be located at a far off place.

This has pressed the need of innovating new vaccines that can be taken out of this strict cold chain for the last stretch of the journey. In the recent past, some vaccines have been produced that is not required to be kept in ice packs and it suits easier temporary storage.  Now, new meningitis vaccine can be kept up to 40°C (104°F) for up to four days.

Especially in a country like India, which are spread in vast areas and the remote areas are tough to be reached in short span of time, such vaccines are badly needed to keep the country’s children free from all ailments.

Thermo stability of vaccines is a major requirement to make vaccines available in all the regions and for all. Till date, it is considered to be a major barrier in improving poor immunization coverage rates. Every year, one in five children born in India, miss out on life saving immunization drives.

Unfortunately; in India, people are not properly informed about the cold chain requirement of vaccines. In smaller cities, vaccines are not kept under prescribed temperature and so they get wasted before they could reach the last mile of their journey.

If in India, the child mortality rate is not decreasing significantly, it is because of the strict cold chain requirements of vaccines are not met properly. Several nationwide drives have failed to deliver the desired results.

Still children are reported to be dying because of extreme dehydration and cholera. Low cost cholera vaccine may save thousands of lives every year. But, it may happen only when such vaccines are invented and for those scientists, leading labs and other stakeholders of this sector need to put a co-ordinated effort.




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