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Vaccine please, and hold the ice
Emily Gertz, 20 Oct 04

Sugar with that shot?

Following the recent, cheering reports of a potentially effective vaccine for malaria comes this worldchanging news: UK company, Cambridge Biostability has developed a "stable liquid technology" that may enable distribution of vaccines without refrigeration.

If this proves medically and financially viable, some of the $200-$300 million a year spent on keeping vaccines cold as they are distributed in developing countries can instead go to getting these vital innoculations to more people.

Cambridge Biostability estimates that simply preventing the waste of spoiled vaccines would translate into treatments for 10 million more children worldwide.

"The key to the technique is encasing the active ingredients in a vaccine in a sugary coat that preserves them at temperatures of up to 60°C. The coating is made from simple natural sugars such as raffinose and an amino acid, typically glutamine...The tiny balls are then suspended in an inert liquid, which prevents any bacteria spoiling the vaccine..The company is currently using a perfluorocarbon liquid but because this chemical damages the ozone layer it is investigating alternatives.

"The resulting vaccines can survive extreme heat and cold without any need for refrigeration...The balls can also be tweaked to make them dissolve at different rates, allowing booster doses that would normally have to be given separately to be given in a single injection, for example."


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This is excellent news.

One less excuse to use DDT.

Posted by: Stefan Jones on 20 Oct 04



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