The final stages of a vaccine’s journey from concept to delivery can be the most difficult. Challenges include transporting and storing vaccine, keeping it at appropriate temperatures, and getting it safely to the children who will benefit from its protection.
When we work on vaccines at PATH, we think about how to ensure they will be effective and accessible in low-resource settings. In places where electricity is sporadic or nonexistent, the solutions might be found in solar-powered refrigeration or in formulations of vaccines that can safely withstand heat exposure. When vaccines are in short supply, the answer might be vaccines injected directly under the skin rather than into the muscle, which may require far lower dose quantities. Needle-free innovations like microarray patches may also help increase the number of people vaccinated in the remote clinic or campaign settings most common to developing countries.
We identify, invent, adapt, and test technologies—often in our laboratory and product development shop—correcting course and redesigning when necessary to ensure these innovations make sense for the world’s poorest communities. At each stage of development, we carefully consider a technology’s feasibility and its acceptability and affordability for the people who will use it.