A $10 billion grant announced in early 2010 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation kicked off a high profile “decade of vaccines,” focused on developing and delivering new vaccines to prevent deadly diseases around the world.
While vaccine breakthroughs receive significant attention, less visible but equally vital is the need to deliver those vaccines to some of the world’s poorest regions that often lack a developed infrastructure. Vaccines can lose their potency when exposed to heat, extreme cold or light. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 30 percent of vaccines bound for developing countries have diminished potency due to poor handling.
Innovations in plastics are helping. For example, a plastic-based container called the AirLiner® is designed to help prevent damage and maintain the efficacy of vaccines. Produced in multiple shapes and sizes to fit into existing transport boxes or other carriers, the AirLiner’s ® inflatable, honeycomb design blocks heat transfer so that the temperature inside the pack remains fairly constant.
The AirLiner® is used by WHO and won a Gold Award in Packaging Excellence plus a Special Citation for Social Responsibility in 2009 from the Flexible Packaging Association.