Always a critical laboratory staple, freezers have rarely seen the spotlight until now. News crews have been visiting one of our laboratory equipment divisions in Asheville, North Carolina to witness the ramp-up of freezer production. The factory is experiencing the largest volume ramp-up in its history. The facility is producing hundreds of units per day and is looking to hire more workers.
These freezers are critical for the successful rollout of the first Covid-19 vaccines. Both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine candidates are mRNA-based vaccines. This is a new category of vaccines on the market which require colder storage and shipping conditions than standard vaccines.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine candidate has the greatest challenges. It requires shipping on dry-ice and storage at -70°C or ultra low freezers. Fortunately, Thermo Fisher Scientific makes these freezers in three sizes to accommodate the needs of vaccine distribution. These include small bench top freezers that can hold <1,000 vials, small chest freezers that can hold <6,500 all the way up to upright systems that can hold up to 30,000 or 60,000 doses. Some combination of these freezers will be optimal for most sites.
The Moderna vaccine candidate requires -20°C shipping and storage, which is a little easier but not common in most pharmacies. Thermo Fisher Scientific has a large selection of freezers which hold from between <1,500 to 40,000 vials.
As anyone who has worked with mRNA knows, it is unstable. Vaccine doses will be packaged in very particular lipoprotein nanoparticles. Minor fluctuations in temperature can be incredibly problematic. Thermo Fisher Scientific freezers are designed for vaccine storage supporting accreditation and quality standards.
Customers can use monitoring solutions to know vaccines are safe throughout the shipment and storage processes, wherever they are. Thermo Scientific wireless monitoring solutions continuously track critical parameters of freezers and securely log the data.
With the likely emergence of new viruses, and the potential of rapid development of mRNA based vaccines, it is probable that we will see more mRNA based vaccines in the near future. Who knows, maybe the freezer will get a well-deserved supporting role in the next super hero movie.
Want to visit one of these sites? Follow news crews inside our Waltham, Massachusetts warehouse to see our team in action.