Insights

Deep Freeze Arktek Noted in PBS NewsHour Ebola Series

July 16, 2015

IV’s latest passive vaccine storage device, or Arktek™, as it’s now known, has had a big year so far. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control tagged the Arktek to help make Ebola vaccine trials in Sierra Leone and Guinea possible.

In the PBS NewsHour segment, “Why testing an Ebola vaccine isn’t so easy,” science correspondent Miles O'Brian reports on the challenges of conducting experimental drug trials in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The Deep Freeze Arktek is noted at the 1:30 mark of the video below.

The Arktek is allowing researchers on the ground in Africa to determine the efficacy of Ebola vaccine candidates. An important requirement in keeping the Ebola vaccine effective throughout the trials is keeping the vaccines at appropriate temperatures until being thawed for injection. And these vaccines require unusually low temperatures during storage, transportation, and distribution.

Prior to its use in vaccine trials, the WHO awarded the Arktek prequalified status, an important prerequisite to introducing the device to most countries in the developing world. The status is effectively a stamp of approval for real-world use, and it’s enabling the Arktek, as well as modified versions, to be used on the ground in the fight against other vaccine-preventable diseases.

Without the unique cold chain properties of the Arktek, it would not be possible to maintain the necessary temperatures to transport and distribute the Ebola vaccine candidates in remote areas without reliable electricity, where they require storage at temperatures below -60°C (-76°F) for a number of days before use. We’re grateful to the scientists and engineers who’ve worked diligently to address the challenging problems that come with the territory when keeping something so cold for so long without power.

To stay up-to-date on the latest information about the Arktek and more, be sure to check out the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory’s blog, where this post first appeared. The IV Lab routinely publishes news about the people, machines and ideas that it brings to life each day.

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