BookmarkBookmarkTickBookmarkAddCheckBoxFilledCheckBoxCircleBumpCheckedFilledMedical

New Technique Makes Vaccines Safe in Warmer Temperatures, Study Finds

“Ultimately, we want to make important medicines stable so they can be more widely available. The aim is to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases in low income countries.”
save article
profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published June 9, 2020
mom holding her baby after it had a vaccine
Image: Alexandra Grablewski / Getty Images

According to a new study published in the journal Scientific Reports researchers have now figured out a way to prevent warmed-up vaccines from degrading.

Vaccines can be difficult to transport, as they require constant refrigeration and can spoil when not stored at the proper temperature. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) most vaccines are usually safe to use as long as they’re stored between 2 and 8 degrees celsius. Once the vaccines hit other temperatures, their proteins begin to unravel, making them ineffective. As a result of this, millions of kids globally don’t have access to safe and effective vaccines.

Scientists have now, however, found a way to prevent the degradation of vaccines due to warmer temperature: encasing the protein molecules in a silica shell. This allows the structure of the vaccine to remain intact even when heated to 100 degrees celsius, or stored at room temperature for up to three years.

This technique of tailoring a silica coat to fit the vaccine, called ensilication, was developed with a University of Bath research team in collaboration with the University of Newcastle. While the technique proved its effectiveness in the lab two years ago, the technique has now proved its effectiveness in the real world.

For their study, the researchers sent both ensilicated and regular samples of the tetanus vaccine from Bath to Newcastle, a journey of over 300 miles, which takes up to two days by mail. They then tested the vaccine in mice and found that the ensilicated vaccine triggered an immune response, showing that it was active. There was not an immune response detected in mice who had received the regular dose of the vaccine, indicating it had been damaged in transit.

“This is really exciting data because it shows us that ensilication preserves not just the structure of the vaccine proteins but also the function – the immunogenicity,” Dr. Asel Sartbaeva, from the University of Bath’s Department of Chemistry and leader of the project, stated in a press release. “This project has focused on tetanus, which is part of the DTP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine given to young children in three doses. Next, we will be working on developing a thermally-stable vaccine for diphtheria, and then pertussis. Eventually we want to create a silica cage for the whole DTP trivalent vaccine, so that every child in the world can be given DTP without having to rely on cold chain distribution.”

While more research need to be done, according to Dr. Sartbaeva, ensilicated vaccines could be suitable to use for humans within five to 15 years. The hope is to eventually have the technique of silica-wrapping proteins be adopted to store and transport all childhood vaccines.

“Ultimately, we want to make important medicines stable so they can be more widely available,” she continued in the release. “The aim is to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases in low income countries by using thermally stable vaccines and cutting out dependence on cold chain.”

Presently, up to half of all vaccine doses are thrown out before use due to exposure to improper temperatures, the release states. According to the WHO, in 2018 close to 19.4 million babies globally didn’t receive their routine vaccines due to this.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

save article
Article removed.
Name added. View Your List
ADVERTISEMENT

Next on Your Reading List

baby being examined by doctor with stethescope
Tool: Baby and Child Immunization Schedule
By The Bump Editors
doctor giving a baby a vaccine
More Doses of RSV Shot for Babies Are on the Way, White House Says
By Wyndi Kappes
doctor listening to 1 month old baby's heart
What to Expect at Baby’s One Month Checkup
Medically Reviewed by Dina DiMaggio Walters, MD
ADVERTISEMENT
doctor examining one year old baby during 12 month check up
What to Expect at Baby’s 12-Month Checkup
By Anisa Arsenault
doctor giving baby a vaccine
FDA Approves COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids 6 Months and Up
By Wyndi Kappes
close up of doctor putting band aid on baby's leg after flu shot
Should Babies Get the Flu Shot? Here’s What to Know
By Lexi Dwyer
Celebrity Alyssa Milano pictured with children during UNICEF volunteer trip to Kosovo.
Alyssa Milano on Parenting, the Pandemic and Working With UNICEF USA
By Lauren Kay
ADVERTISEMENT
nervous woman stands by window
Study Shows Many Parents Still Don’t Trust Routine Childhood Vaccines
By Nehal Aggarwal
city of boston historic buildings
These Are the Best and Worst States for Vaccination Rates, Report Says
By Nehal Aggarwal
sad teddy bear looking out rainy window
Measles Virus Completely Wipes Out Your Immune System, Studies Find
By Nehal Aggarwal
ADVERTISEMENT
phone screen that shows mock up of vaccine pop up
Facebook and Instagram Debut New Strategy to Combat Vaccine Myths
By Laurie Ulster
two women having serious conversation
How to Talk About Vaccines Without Starting a Fight
By Stephanie Grassullo
new york city's empire state building covered by dots that resemble measles rash
CDC: Measles Cases Have Now Hit a More Than 25-Year High
By Stephanie Grassullo
ADVERTISEMENT
bar graph showing growth
Report: These Places in the US Have the Highest Risk of a Measles Outbreak
By Stephanie Grassullo
woman's hand holding her phone, which shows instagram icon and a vaccine
Instagram Doubles Down Efforts to Stop the Spread of Misinformation on Vaccines
By Stephanie Grassullo
Q&A: Modified Immunization Schedule?
Q&A: Modified Immunization Schedule?
By Dr. Cheryl Wu
Little boy with bandaid on arm looking at camera
NYC Declares Public Health Emergency, Orders Mandatory Measles Vaccinations
By Stephanie Grassullo
ADVERTISEMENT
young school children sitting with their arms around each other
Italy Will Now Ban Unvaccinated Kids From School
By Stephanie Grassullo
medical researcher performing tests in a lab
Massive New Study Once Again Proves No Link Between Vaccines and Autism
By Stephanie Grassullo
upset mom scrolls through phone while holding her baby
Social Media Sites Crack Down on Misinformation From Anti-Vax Ads
By Stephanie Grassullo
ADVERTISEMENT
Article removed.