Global Good, a collaborative effort between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Intellectual Ventures, has developed a storage device that can keep vaccines properly refrigerated during travel in order to maintain their effectiveness.
The Arktek cooler can maintain proper refrigeration without the use of electricity, which allows those transporting vaccines to maintain the “cold chain” — the narrow temperature range needed from point of manufacture to point of administration.
The cooler, designed and manufactured by the Chinese refrigeration system supplier Aucma, is a 21-inch by 30-inch cylinder that can hold a little more than 180 ounces. The container uses vacuum thermal insulation technology that has, in the past, been used to protect spacecraft from temperature extremes. The cooler can hold temperatures between 32 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a minimum of 35 days in a hot zone environment (about 109 degrees Fahrenheit during the day) with only ice inside the storage space.
“Now more children in remote villages can be immunized because they can count on the Artek to deliver vaccines at the proper temperature,” said Dr Zihong Guo, director of partnerships at Global Good. “The device is easy to use and does not need much maintenance. Therefore, the ongoing operating costs for the Artek is low compared to most existing technologies.”
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