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June 24, 2011

Insulated container optimized for months of vaccine storage

Super insulation techniques have been used to help store cryogenic fluids and protect spacecraft from the high and low temperatures of outer space. Using similar principles, Intellectual Ventures developed an insulated container optimized for vaccine storage that can maintain the necessary temperature for months using only ice. Vaccines can then be retrieved as needed without jeopardizing the remaining vials and the insulated container can remain in the field for repeated use.




Diseases like polio, which has been eradicated in many countries through vaccination, are still prominent in parts of the developing world. Among the barriers to vaccination in these areas is the sensitive nature of the vaccines themselves, which must be kept at a precise temperature from manufacture to use to prevent spoiling. Poor infrastructure and unreliable power limit the reach of this cold chain, which hinders vaccination efforts

Each year approximately 25 million infants do not receive the necessary immunizations, and at least 2.4 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases—approximately 14 percent of deaths in children under 5. Millions more survive, but are left severely impaired. The long-term effects of these childhood illnesses limit the ability of those who survive to become educated, to work, or to care for themselves or others.

More deaths could be prevented and illnesses avoided, if vaccines which are sensitive both to excessive heat and excessive cold (kept between 2 and 8 degrees celsius), were transported and stored correctly.


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