Fridge-free vaccine hope18th February 2010
Researchers at Oxford University have found a way to preserve vaccines without using a fridge, which could help to provide immunisations for children in Africa.
The team said they combined the vaccines with two varieties of sugar (sucrose and trehalose) and then dried them out on filter paper. The vaccines were preserved and could then be 'reactivated' to use in injections.
Storing vaccines can prove to be a big problem in countries where electricity supplies and fridges are in short supply.
The scientists, who wrote up their research in the journal Science Translational Medicine, said they were able to keep the vaccines 'stable' for six months at 45C.
The work was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and was undertaken in collaboration with Nova Bio-Pharma Technologies.
The lead investigator, Professor Adrian Hill, said: "If we could convert all the standard vaccines to a solution like this, it would mean they're cheaper to deliver, because they'd survive at room temperature - and so there'd be scope to vaccinate more children."
"The technology is simple and extremely cheap - and there are no more scientific hurdles to overcome."
He added that they now needed to develop their techniques and trial it in Africa, and that it could be available by 2015.
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Title: Fridge-free vaccine hope
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 14099
Date Added: 18th Feb 2010