A group of DTU students have developed a device to solve the problem of refrigerated vaccines falling outside their temperature range and losing their effectiveness. Just a few hours is sometimes enough to render them useless – particularly in developing world countries that are susceptible to power blackouts.
The device is an alternative to traditional 'cold chain' temperature control methods to avoid vaccine wastage. It is placed inside a refrigeration unit and alerts the personnel if it experiences an abnormal temperature, sending out text messages.
The students have launched their own company, Eupry, to market the product in Africa and India, and although the product has yet to be approved for sale anywhere, they have tested one of the devices in Nigeria in March 2014 in collaboration with UNICEF and the Clinton Health Access Initiative.
"We hope is to reduce the waste of vaccines across many countries. We're on our way and we are optimistic and certain that we will reach our goal sometime in the future," Jakob Konradsen, the co-founder of Eupry, told the Copenhagen Post.
The device uses phone networks to transfer information on the condition of the vaccines to the internet, providing real-time details on the state of the medicine stored.
The device has the ability to monitor how often the staff enter the storage unit to check the vaccines, and it also enables the observation of the vaccines during transportation from the manufacturer to the vaccination site.
Furthermore, the students have tried to make the system easy to install and use without the need for outside help.