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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Staying Cool Under Pressure

PMPS: What challenges face any immunisation programme?

Luc Provost: What you need is a local-solution approach, and to deliver the vaccine safely from arrival into a country all the way down into the people who need to be immunised – and across very different geographies. You will find our vaccines in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil, you will find them in the deserts of Chad, you will find them in the jungle of Democratic Republic of Congo. Be it the ambient temperatures, be it vaccine temperatures that need to be respected, be it the mere quantity of products that are needed, these are typically things that we've been managing over the last four decades. Companies that supply -80°C freezers but don’t have the refrigerators and the transport boxes also don’t have the traceability, and that’s where a one-stop-shop is needed for vaccine distribution. We are advising a large number of different COVID-19 response teams for different governments because they do not know how to prepare themselves in the best way for such a large-scale organisation. Even today, in the UK, Germany, Belgium, or Luxembourg, people don't think about the reliability of power supply, but I think it still should be on everyone's mind. If you think that in one ultra-low freezer you have up to €4 million in vaccines, any interruption could damage the entire stock, which is already very scarce. These are things that you really need to take into account when you plan the best practices to be implemented across the logistical chain of vaccine distribution.

What are the latest technologies and developments in this area?

The latest addition is remote temperature monitoring devices in real time, for example, for the NHS. You can have a complete overview of the installed base in the country on Google Maps; you can see all the locations, you can see how they're operating, and this can be provided anywhere. In real time you can be informed of how your cold chain is performing; that's hugely important because it allows you to react in case of a problem and save the vaccines – or to know when not to immunise people with vaccines that have lost their potency, which is also a big issue. The vaccine is a transparent liquid and does not change colour or phase if it falls outside the required temperatures, but what does happen is that the potency is lost, so it’s like injecting water into people – your immunisation will simply not have the effect that you're hoping for.

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Luc Provost, CEO of B Medical Systems, has been with the company for more than 20 years. He possesses a wealth of knowledge in business ownership, technology, operations, and sales and is at the core of the company’s reputation as an end-to-end medical cold chain provider. Since joining the company, he has played a pivotal role in the company’s revenue growth, geographical expansions, and has signed various global commercial agreements for the company including with major corporations like Toyota.
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