As stated by, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a major problem with vaccine transportation: how to store the shots. Most vaccines need to be kept cold until they are injected into the patient’s arm. However, researchers at Purdue University are exploring a new method of freeze-drying vaccines that they claim is cheaper and faster than current options.
Freeze-dried vaccines have been in existence for over 50 years and played a crucial role in the global effort led by the World Health Organization to eradicate smallpox (source). But at Purdue, scientists are using microwaves to make freeze-drying more feasible on a large scale.
Alina Alexeenko, a researcher at Purdue University, explains that while vaccines can already be freeze-dried, the process is either too slow or too expensive in its current form. The team at Purdue aims to solve this bottleneck by increasing capacity through their innovative technology.
The microwave method of freeze-drying vaccines has encountered challenges related to heating uniformity. Ahmad Darwish, a research associate involved in the project, states that their system has achieved significantly improved heating uniformity and efficiency.
One of the significant advantages of freeze-dried vaccines is that they do not require refrigeration. Instead, they can be “activated” by adding a liquid solution when ready for use. This feature could greatly improve access to vaccines, especially in areas where cold storage facilities are lacking.
Purdue researchers are currently working on bringing their technology to market. If successful, this breakthrough could revolutionize vaccine transportation and distribution worldwide (source).
The deduction, researchers at Purdue University are pioneering an innovative approach to freeze-drying vaccines using microwaves. This method aims to address the challenges associated with current freeze-drying processes such as slow production or high costs. By improving heating uniformity and efficiency, this technology could enhance access to vaccines globally and eliminate the need for extensive cold storage infrastructure. The potential impact of this breakthrough on vaccine transportation and distribution is immense, and the team at Purdue is actively working towards making their technology available to the public (source).