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Warming Up to Frozen Distribution

Since the turn of the century, the eyes of the world have spent much time focusing on the fervent work of research scientists in pharmaceutical laboratories across the globe. SARS, Swine Flu, Ebola, and Zika Virus have each had their unwanted moments in the spotlight. However, with the global death toll now surpassing the million mark, no one needs reminding of the threat that COVID-19 carries. The impact has been so devastating that we wait with bated breath for news of a vaccine.

At some point in the near future the vaccine race will be won. However, it has only given rise to another issue of equal importance, which may not be at the forefront of everybody’s minds. Vaccine product development is invariably followed by the need for distribution, and it is in the supply chain where questions are now being asked. One critical question is: once a vaccine has been found, how will it be safely shipped and stored prior to its final administration? The solution to this part of the COVID-19 conundrum is loaded with potential pitfalls, as well as possibilities.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

The pressure on the vaccine distribution industry is ramping up. Currently, there are around 150 vaccine initiatives in development worldwide, including more than 20 that have begun human trials (1). The US, China, Germany, and the UK all have vaccines in phase III trials; this final stage involves testing thousands of people to determine rare side effects that only show up in groups (2). Russian authorities have already approved their vaccine, so as the finishing line beckons, there will be several diverse therapies primed for circulation in all likelihood.

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Clive Bryant is Global Product and Marketing Director at Softbox and has more than 35 years’ experience in global pharmaceutical cold chain logistics. Formerly Head of Life Sciences at DHL and a leading white glove service provider, Clive is tasked with developing innovative future-proof customer solutions that ensure cold chain maintenance and regulatory compliance.
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