As governments around the world press on with their COVID-19 immunisation campaigns, they continue to rely on the agility, efficiency and ingenuity of business and science to provide solutions that will ensure the vaccine roll out is a success.
Medical refrigeration equipment and cold chain solutions have been helping health institutions, NGOs and governments to save lives long before this pandemic. However, safe and reliable storage and transport continues to be front of mind among senior health decision-makers this year because as COVID-19 vaccines are temperature sensitive. Maintaining the cold chain is vital to ensure vaccine efficacy.
It is for this reason B Medical Systems’ specialist medical refrigeration portfolio has proved so invaluable. A global leader in vaccine cold chain solutions, it has more than 40 years of experience in the industry. In 2020, the Luxembourg-based business was on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus, ensuring that tests and biological samples were safely stored and that countries would be ready for the release of the first COVID-19 vaccines.
Luc Provost, CEO of B Medical Systems, says the business was confident it had the means to contribute significantly to the battle against COVID although the uncertainty of the early days was a challenge. “We knew we had a solution for any profile of vaccine, but we did not know which type of vaccines would come to the market, which temperature profiles they would need, and what quantity would be available. There were also the sheer magnitude of the worldwide needs and the tight timelines…”
In 2021 its ultra-low freezers and multi-mode vaccine refrigerators and freezers continue to play a key part in the effective storage of vaccines. Its ULTs can safely store vaccines at temperatures as low as -86°C, easily guaranteeing that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines, for example, are stored at their intended temperatures.
There was – and still is – a lot at stake. “In one single Ultra-Low Freezer you can have up to 300,000 doses of a Pfizer vaccine, with a value of €7m,” says Provost. “Because our products are designed with high-end electronics, including reliable alarms and temperature monitoring systems, we can ensure a further layer of security for the stored vaccines until the last mile.”
“We do not have to depend on governments or local suppliers to make our products work. We know that they work, wherever they go in the world, and that is a big advantage today.”
And because its Ultra-Low Freezers are designed with innovative cooling technology, they can operate safely and efficiently at a broad temperature range of -86°C to -20°C. B Medical Systems’ solutions are, crucially, designed to protect a vaccine’s potency until the last mile, even in the most hostile environments or on lengthy journeys.
The specialists at B Medical Systems have regularly risen to the COVID challenge in other ways. Provost says his R&D team worked day and night in early 2020 to successfully bring flexible solutions to the market. B Medical Systems’ highly innovative, advanced refrigeration systems can store two families of vaccine profiles, for example: “This flexibility has been incredibly helpful for governments because, with very low risk of making the wrong decision, they could be sure of storing any vaccine profile coming to the country.”
B Medical Systems’ state-of-the-art technology combined with its legacy of more than 40 years in the medical refrigeration business has been key to providing safe and reliable solutions. The business has trusted relationships not just with government healthcare decision-makers but also pharmaceutical networks, hospital procurement directors, physicians’ offices and even logistics companies.
“Our experience in blood transfusion, for example, helped us with the COVID crisis,” says Provost. “Our medical devices for the safe transport of bio specimens, vaccines, lab specimens, medical preparations, blood and its components are temperature-controlled. In fact, temperatures for blood transfusion are much more precise than what is required in the vaccine cold chain. Now we are learning from our innovative vaccine cold chain solutions. Our technological innovation will be key going forward.”
As the distribution and administration of millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, B Medical Systems will be at the heart of the fight to keep vaccines and other critical samples safe during the cold storage and transport process.