Vaccine industry in India is valued at $26 billion and ranks third in terms of volume globally in the world. New vaccines are being invented to fight more diseases. Paradoxically, one in every five children does not receive even the basic vaccines. More importantly and of grave concern is the fact that deaths are being reported even after immunization against disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that as much as 80% of the drugs produced in India lose their potency due to lack of handling capacity which has to ensure a temperature controlled storage procedure right from the packaging floor to the customer’s end.
Medicines and serums used to develop vaccines are highly sensitive to temperature shocks and often end up losing their potency owing to exposure to temperatures outside the acceptable range of 2ºC to 8ºC laid down by the WHO. Any temperatures outside the optimum range could not only prove wasteful and result in pricey product losses, but also pose health risks to patients.Due to lack of standardisation there is never a sure shot way to know whether a vaccine or drug being administered to a patient is really even strong enough to fight the disease in itself.
In recent years, temperature-controlled packaging technology has been refined and advanced, and standards and controls have been established by the WHO and UNICEF.However, traditional cooling methods such as polystyrene cartons, polyethylene foam or air pocket products that typically package vaccines in dry ice or gel packs are still restricted in their timeframe.These gel packs which is essentially water with a thickening agent packed in pouches are effective over a certain period of time, often pass as cheap solutions for maintaining temperature in the absence of active cooling without much adherence to any standard rules of temperature maintenance laid down by international organizations for pharma storage. Many Pharmacies use Domestic refrigerators which are not ideal for storing cold chain products for a number of reasons, including an uneven temperature distribution (as a result of minimal air circulation) and a normal operating range of between 0 and 10C.Opening and closing the fridge door can cause significant temperature fluctuations, making monitoring of the internal temperature difficult. There is also a risk that products could freeze if they come into contact with the chiller plate or coil at the back of the fridge. In developing countries, where refrigeration is limited, this is still an enormous challenge.
India experiences various seasonal changes and extremes in temperature ranging from -4°C up to 45°C. In areas with frequent electricity outage, it is an arduous task to maintain cold storages. This also adds up to the energy expense. In remote areas, with limited connectivity, there is a need for a vaccine storage solution that reduces reliance on electricity and power supply, and is easily available to make storage and transport of vaccines viable for longer durations.
With this growing emphasis on proper storage of pharmacy materials, Godrej Appliances, one of the leading players in the home appliances industry, in partnership with UK-based Sure chill Company, launched Vaccine refrigerators with Surechill technology last year. Godrej Vaccine Refrigerators address the key need of providing precise cooling solutions for storing Vaccine even under long power outage conditions quite prevalent across Urban, Semi Urban and Rural areas within the country. The Operating Surechill technology guarantees “No Freeze” areas within Storage chamber, extended holdover to maintain temperatures within 2-8 deg in case of breakdowns or power outages.
The Surechill technology, core to this refrigerator, is based on the scientific principle that water is densest at 4deg. C, which happens also to be the ideal temperature for storing vaccines. The technology harnesses this natural phenomenon to create a constantly chilled environment within the refrigeration unit-whether there is power or not. It is so reliable that it will maintain a completely steady temperature for 10 days or more after power has been interrupted. This is achieved through the movement of dense water at 4deg C, generated as the system’s ice bank interacts with warmer water circulating within the unit. Once power has been used to generate the ice bank in the first instance, the Surechill technology channels the supply of naturally generated 4deg C water to the refrigeration compartment without the need for any further power.
Godrej Vaccine Refrigerators are available in five SKUs based in Literage and Operating power source -
- GVR 50 AC, GVR 100 AC and GVR 225 AC running on Grid power.
- GVR 50 DC and GVR 100DC running on Direct Solar power.
The new developed Lite series models are lighter, slimmer and come at 50% reduced cost. They come with an externally readable data logger which records up to 30 day’s temperature reading and offers five customizable temperature alarm settings. The Lite series include –
- GVR 51 Lite
- GVR 75 Lite
- GVR 99 Lite
Key Features of Godrej Vaccine refrigerators:
- Sure Chill Technology guarantees never to freeze vaccines.
- Environment friendly- CFC, HFC and HCFC free
- WHO PQS pre-qualified.
- Refrigerator continues to operate on only 2.5 hrs./ day power at 43 deg ambient.
- Does not rely on batteries to store energy during periods of no power
- Built in intelligent control, early warning and energy management system.
Thus, Godrej Vaccine refrigerators offers a complete and integrated solution for the ever growing and challenging requirements for strict and exact storage temperatures of pharmaceuticals and medicines.