Having read the recent article by Peter Mwai, BBC Reality Check, ‘Covid-19 vaccines: Why some African states can’t use their vaccines’ really saddens and frustrates me as a scientist and I am sure, all of those involved in the creating, manufacturing and delivery of life saving vaccines feel the same.
The World Health Organization reports that over 50% of vaccines are wasted around the world each year. Given global vaccines sales of $60 billion in 2020, wastage equates to $30 billion per year.
To read that already scarce vaccines, that have been donated to those in need, have not been administered within their expiry date is clearly disappointing. It has to be acknowledged that part of the challenge, of course, are the current limitations that we experience with live vaccines around temperature, the length of time that they can be stored and in what conditions.
This is why I have spent many years working on identifying a solution to these problems and resolve a major world health issue. In 2012, I invented a novel and disruptive technology, StablevaX™, that aims to eliminate the need for refrigeration or the (‘cold chain’), reduce vaccine wastage and save lives through better immunisation. With this technology vaccines can be stored without refrigeration of any kind and temporarily stockpiled until they are used, rather than being destroyed. As we know, the majority of the new RNA Covid-19 vaccines, such as the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines can only be kept for short times outside of a deep-freezer – a serious problem in parts of Africa.
Stablepharma recently initiated an ambitious programme on thermostability of this type of vaccine. Initial results show that we can take the naked mRNA treat it with the Stablepharma drying process and then store it at plus 45°C for at least 2 months and probably for years without loss, instead of at minus 70°C
It is, sad to see vaccines being thrown away when we are all trying to protect those we love and those who are vulnerable to disease. Stablepharma aims to ensure that most vaccines, even the most fragile ones, can be removed from the refrigerated cold chain and stored for months or even years at room temperature so that we can eradicate, as much as possible, wastage of life saving vaccines.
We stand ready to work with further vaccine companies to transform their vaccines into thermostable products.