Engineering giant Rolls-Royce has teamed up with food technology company ChefsFridge Co. to develop a low-temperature pod for Covid-19 vaccines. The Engineer reports that the new innovation, named ArcticRx, will assist in the challenge of vaccinating patients in all areas of the world.
Covid-19 vaccines which have proved to be highly successful, such as the Pfizer and Moderna versions, need to be stored at minus 70°c and minus 20°c respectively. This presents a challenge for ultra-cold storage systems and supply chains. Currently, most shipping coolers can only carry one or two rounds of doses at a time.
The new ultra-low temperature (ULT) pod developed by the Rolls-Royce emerging technologies and innovation department and ChefsFridge will support a two-dose vaccine delivery regimen, helping to solve the dilemma of how to vaccinate the inhabitants of remote rural areas internationally.
Some regions of the world do not have resources such as electricity to support the current ultra-low storage requirements at vaccination sites, the article explains. Even when the vaccines can be shipped to a site, the methods are largely unsustainable, being inefficient, costly, and slow to roll out.
The Arctic Rx pod is reusable, lightweight, and crucially does not require electricity to maintain stable ultra-low temperatures. It can be refilled with additional cooling materials if needed. This will significantly extend the cold chain transportation times, allowing life-saving vaccines to be distributed more evenly across the globe.
M. Shane Bivens, ChefsFridge co-founder, said: “Initially, we’re looking at immediate global challenges that need to be met. With the help we’re seeking from additional investors and manufacturing partners, the possibilities from this point are enormous for both solving this current pandemic, and shipping and storing other vital medical and non-medical supplies.”
Rolls-Royce have confirmed that the final models have been tested, and investment and manufacturing partners are now being sought.
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