A freezer is a refrigeration equipment that comprises a thermally insulated compartment, which helps it to keep cold and thus avoid damage or degradation. It is kept cold by compression or by absorption, which is capable of keeping the products stored inside at a temperature below 0 ° C, normally between -30 ° C and -4 ° C. Although currently some equipment can reach temperatures of -80 ºC. Its function is to maintain, in a controlled environment, various fluids and substances, so that they are kept in good condition, since the lower the temperature, the less chemical and biological activity. To achieve this it is required that the interior temperature of the refrigerator is lower than the ambient temperature.
You must bear in mind that cold is one of the fundamental elements to properly preserve a large number of products and extend their useful life. Refrigeration, conservation and freezing systems are the fundamental basis of the primary, secondary and hospitality food industry. The chemical industry bases a good part of its operations in cold rooms. The pharmaceutical industry supports a good part of its logistics in laboratory freezers. Many drugs, including vaccines such as the SARS-Cov-2 virus, the COVID-19 vaccine, require an efficient and safe cold chain.
Why should vaccines be cold?
In very basic terms, a vaccine consists of the inoculation of a preparation that contains a concentration of virus or other attenuated or inactivated agents. The objective of this procedure is to instruct the body’s immune system on these agents in order to generate antibodies against the different viruses. Scientists have managed to identify and synthesize SARS-Cov-2 virus proteins efficiently, managing to develop vaccines with a high degree of effectiveness.
Within the specifications of the vaccines, it has been determined that they must maintain a cold chain from the moment they leave the laboratory. The transport, storage and subsequent transfer system to the vaccination centers must maintain a constant temperature. This cold chain prevents the degradation of the vaccine in a way that guarantees its quality, safety and efficiency.
The COVID-19 Vaccine and the Refrigeration Industry
Generally, developing a vaccine can take scientists through several years of trial, testing, and error correction. One of the processes that requires more scientific work is the preservation of vaccines in practical conditions that offer the greatest possible safety. However, the urgency generated by the severity and virulence of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these processes exponentially.
However, in the development of these vaccines, it has not been possible to optimize the vaccine at ambient or commonly managed temperatures. Some vaccines require refrigeration well below freezing, which has posed a challenge for the healthcare system. At this point, the experience provided by the refrigeration industry with the knowledge acquired over the years has been relevant. The adaptation, construction and design of cold room doors, as well as deep freezing chambers (-60ºC and -80ºC) have been part of their contributions. Advice to the health system on refrigeration matters has been crucial throughout the process.