Are refrigerants the solution to the COVID-19 vaccine issue?
The announcement of highly effective vaccines is a great step in returning to normality. However, there are still logistical storage problems to overcome, as the first widely approved vaccine (Pfizer BioNTech) must be refrigerated at -70 °C. Are refrigerants the solution to the COVID-19 issue?
What is the current landscape for COVID-19 vaccines?
Currently there are 4 vaccines in development or approval; Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford Uni and AstraZeneca and Gamaleya (Sputnik V). The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was the first to receive approval in the UK. It has since received approval for use in the US and in EU states. Tests of this vaccine have recorded 95% effectiveness and requires 2 doses for administration.
To be effective, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine must be refrigerated at -70 °C. The current solution for keeping the vaccine at low temperatures for it’s initial deliveries is to package it in special packaging packed with dry ice. However, as the vaccine continues to seek global approval, additional solutions for transportation and storage may need to be found. Countries with poorer infrastructure will be unable to support the current ‘cold-chain’ requirements that ensure vaccine effectiveness.
How could refrigerants be the solution to vaccine storage?
Dry ice, though effective for initial vaccine roll-out, is not a long term robust or sustainable solution.
Ultra-low temperature refrigerants could provide the solution to the ‘cold-chain’ requirements. Rather than being reliant on people or man-made elements, electrical refrigeration ensures ultra-low temperatures will be maintained for both transportation and storage.
The use of refrigerants is already widespread, embedded in systems around the world. Using ultra-low refrigerants for medical storage is both robust and sustainable.
However, the refrigerant and HFC industry have faced increasing pressure to provide low GWP products that still deliver a sufficient performance.
Ideal for application in medical and cold-chain refrigeration, our next-gen refrigerants are the result of a combined drive for innovation and sustainability.
Our next-gen refrigerant R-473A is designed to offer both a lower environmental impact and significantly improved performance. It is suitable for a range of applications such as cold-chain and medical refrigeration. Recent tests have demonstrated R-473A to be effective for space refrigeration temperatures of -75 °C. It also has 90% lower global warming potential than other low temperature refrigerants currently available, such as R-23.
R-473A is now available; contact our expert team to find out more.