COVID-19: the neglected importance of thermostable vaccines

24 Mar, 2021

Carlo Giaquinto – President of the Penta Foundation and Ilaria Capua – Director of the One Health Center of Excellence at the University of Florida have co-authored an article in The Lancet that talks about the neglected importance of thermostable vaccines in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the article titled “The unsung virtue of thermostability”, the authors stated that “if a substantial proportion of vaccines lose their potency or safety, or both, because of problems during transportation and storage, they will be less efficacious, and increase the overall costs.”

They further explained that the reason for the current implementation of the cold chain (unbroken temperature-controlled supply chain) to distribute vaccines is that thermostable vaccines do not presently exist. Thermostable vaccines are heat-stable and freeze-stable, so as to be stored at a temperature of  above 8°C, which is a preferred vaccine characteristic recommended by WHO.

Before now, developing thermostable vaccines was never a priority or a core requirement for high-income countries. In fact, the real demand and insufficient push for thermostable vaccines comes from low-income and middle-income countries and was never prioritised to become an essential characteristic sought by vaccine developers.

The authors reiterate the need to reprioritise the urgent improvements in vaccine development that are essential to fully make use of the power of immunisation campaigns even under diverse epidemiological, geographical, and logistical circumstances.

Download the article here: The unsung virtue of thermostability