As pharmaceutical companies work to develop a vaccine to fight the spread of COVID-19, the global supply chain is struggling to prepare for the eventual distribution of a cure. Freight companies are already facing capacity problems today — well before the complexity of delivering vaccines to 7.8 billion people around the world. It may not seem like there is much we can do to assist in this challenge, but this article will strive to explore the opportunities where we can play our part and help prepare.
Critical Temperature Control
When it comes to transportation of fragile vaccines, it is crucial that temperatures during transport are maintained to avoid destroying the delicate composition of the medicine. Health officials estimate that shipments of any vaccine will need to be kept between 35.6°F and 46.6°F to maintain their efficacy.1
It is vastly more difficult to coordinate shipment & delivery of medicine and vaccines compared to nearly any other goods. It is possible for many products to sit in a truck or on the airport tarmac without fear of damage1. This simply is not the case for susceptible vaccines. The infrastructure needs to prepare with adequate supply of both refrigerated storage capacity and refrigerated transport.
The demand for refrigerated trucking within the US and Canada has already experienced high double-digit growth in several geographies & freight lanes — some regions have experienced up to 38% rise in demand (early May 2020)2. This trend is expected to continue for the next several months with the increased consumption of perishable goods & frozen foods as well as for eventual shipment of vaccine technology.
Many freight companies are working to retrofit trucks and aircraft with temperature control capabilities.1 This business practice is likely to expand in the coming months and will require it’s own complex supply chain of refrigeration & ventilation equipment as well as the thermal fluids required to run those systems. ChemPoint carries a broad range of performance thermal fluids, but the ones best suited for this requirement are listed below.
One of the key methods of preserving pharmaceuticals & vaccine doses is the process of lyophilization or freeze drying. This process removes the presence of water through sublimation and greatly extends the shelf life of the vaccine composition. To increase the efficiency of vaccine transportation, a large-scale increase in the availability of this technology will be required. It is likely we will see a microcosm of 3rd party labs & service companies emerge into the market as this demand increases. ChemPoint carries a range of specialty thermal fluids engineered for pharmaceutical applications including lyophilization.
Cold Storage & Warehousing
One of the largest factors for the increase in refrigerated storage capacity in recent years has been the consumer shift towards more natural & organic foods. The demand for foods with fewer preservatives and additives is growing, requiring additional infrastructure to provide the same amount of “freshness” consumers have come to expect.
The good news is that plenty of new construction is taking place for facilities that can handle long-term cold storage. ChemPoint has a solutions portfolio of thermal fluids engineered to provide consistent temperature control in sensitive environments. The most relevant grades are listed here for convenience.