Recognising that the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will need to be stored at subzero temperatures along with distribution challenges in rolling it out across Ireland, Q1 Scientific already stores and distributes medical drugs at this level and are ready to provide their services to store and distribute the anticipated COVID19 vaccine.
Challenges of COVID19 vaccine storage and distribution
CEO of Q1 Scientific Stephen Delaney spoke of the challenges around the storage and distribution of the COVID19 vaccine on the latest ‘The Science of Business’ podcast, which was released today. Stephen says,
“Cold chain distribution in pharma is complicated even in normal times and right now Ireland will need to make available its cold chain capacity to accommodate deliveries of the COVID19 vaccine, however, if public services and the private sector all come together there won’t be capacity storage issues within Ireland.”
Q1 Scientific already stores pharmaceutical samples at very specific temperatures for 11 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies in the world. Mr Delaney continues,
“Our track record gives us confidence in our ability to be part of the solution for Ireland right now, we have honed an expertise in the field of stability storage for pharmaceutical and life sciences companies over the last seven years.”
“We have 50 stability chambers at our facility in Waterford all operating at different temperatures depending on the demand of our customers. The core of our business is how strictly controlled and monitored our chambers are, we don’t have a chamber that is roughly 25 degrees, they are precisely 25 degrees at every minute of every day for the specified timeframe. We operate storage from 25 degrees all the way down to -80. We have probes inside each room and they take a reading every minute, these readings are then sent back to a centralised system which is bespoke to Q1 Scientific; controls like this are the reason that pharmaceutical companies work with us.”
Cold chain distribution of the COVID19 vaccine
In terms of the cold chain distribution of the -70 vaccine. The manufacturer’s storage specifications are that the vaccine must be stored and also distributed at -70. Stephen says,
“Q1 Scientific would have a lot of expertise in this field. We would for example transport the vaccine with dry-ice and continuous temperature monitoring. This would require a lot of dry-ice which reduces the amount of product transported, therefore it will require a lot of transport. It then needs to be stored at -70 on arrival at medical facilities in the dry-ice storage container for a specified timeframe.”
Storage capacity for the COVID19 vaccine
Speaking on the amount of storage facilities that will be required for the COVID19 Vaccine in Ireland at -70 Stephen says,
“I don’t think there is going to be a problem. We have spoken with all of our suppliers discussing our options around scaling up our own facilities as the challenges around -70 storage is mainly the capacity within the chamber. These chambers are quite small but there are a lot of companies supplying these chambers into Ireland with the last 40 years and I really don’t think there is a big problem coming down the track in terms of capacity.
In addition, these vaccines will be produced under ‘Just In Time’ manufacturing, therefore the stock that will come into Ireland from these companies will be on an ongoing basis. It is more likely that Ireland will get a percentage of the doses that are manufactured in January and the same in February and it will grow from there.”
Stephen notes that Q1 Scientific is an HPRA and FDA recognised facility and operates to GMP standards and GDP for all distribution.
About the Business of Science podcast series
The Business of Science podcast series is hosted by the multi-award-winning serial entrepreneur and founder of Q1 Scientific Louise Grubb. The series features interviews with some of the key people behind Ireland’s global success in pharma, life sciences, health and biomedical sectors. Louise brings her twenty years of experience within the sector to the table and her own knowledge of what is required to establish a pharma success story.
The full interview from this latest episode of ‘The Business of Science’ is now available to listen to on the Q1 Scientific website and all podcast platforms.