It is necessary to store vaccines in refrigerated conditions in order to prevent them from degrading. Maintaining low temperatures during transportation and storage of vaccines in remote areas and lesser developed countries is a big challenge. The lack of refrigeration leads to deterioration and wastage of these precious life saving vaccines, leaving a lot of patients vulnerable.
A team of researchers at University of Bath, UK led by Dr. Asel Sartbaeva are working on addressing this problem using nanotechnology. They are nano-coating individual vaccine molecules using nano-silica, which will preserve the vaccine from deteriorating by protecting it from its environment. These nano-coated vaccines can be transported and stored for a long time without refrigeration.
The nano-coated vaccines can be packed in compact packages, making it light weight, easy to handle and transport. The silica nano-coating on vaccine molecules can be then broken using chemical or physical methods using acid or ultrasonication before administration. Once this method of preservation is adopted, the need to maintain a cold chain for storage, transport and handling vaccines can be completely eliminated, saving millions of dollars.
Source: University of Bath