From sand to saving lives: vaccine preservation and stabilisation with no refrigeration
Dr Asel Sartbaeva will talk about her research into coating vaccines for easier transport.
Millions of people worldwide die from diseases such as tetanus, pneumonia, pertussis, rotavirus and measles – at a time when one injection of a life-saving vaccine can save so many lives. Our dependence on a cold chain of refrigeration for those vaccines is one of the main reasons why those people are not vaccinated, with about a third of vaccines spoilt before they reach their destination.
Dr Sartbaeva's team has developed a new method of applying silica (something sand is made of) on proteins within vaccines in order to make them stable even to very high temperatures. Once this coating is applied, vaccines can be stored or transported without refrigeration. This will mean the end of the road for the cold chain and the beginning of a new era in which we will be able to reach vulnerable patients even in the most remote and inaccessible areas around the globe.