A new solution for the efficient transportation and storage of ultra-cold biologics, such as Covid-19 vaccines, has been launched by South African helium and natural gas company Renergen.

Called the Cryo-Vacc™, the solution has a temperature range of -150°C to 8°C, making it highly versatile for a range of vaccines that need to be transported for up to 25 days or longer in transit, where access to an external power source is not possible.

Renergen yesterday (15th Feb) announced the completion and successful operation of its first Cryo-Vacc™ prototype, which was presented to South African-based media at the company’s headquarters in Johannesburg.

Sharing details of the solution, Renergen said Cryo-Vacc™ is ideal for both air and ground transportation, utilising liquid nitrogen to transport by road and helium to transport by air.

Aside from helium being only a fraction of the weight of nitrogen, significantly reducing its cost in airfreight, when used in Cryo-Vacc™ helium can accommodate up to 12 times more vials per flight compared to other cryogens based on current flight safety regulations. 

“Precise temperature control combined with a formidable hold time in transit, makes Cryo-Vacc™ a compelling asset in the transport of biologics, especially in the developing world,” said Renergen CEO Stefano Marani. 

“With a useful temperature range of over 150°C, Cryo-Vacc™ is very versatile when compared to even standard refrigeration technology. Every Renergen team member is truly proud to be associated with such an innovative product and we hope that Cryo-Vacc™ helps save many lives and restore some normality as the world builds herd immunity.”

Combined with cold chain monitoring and asset tracking technology from Beyond Wireless Proprietary Limited (Beyond), a World Health Organisation Performance, Quality and Safety certified remote temperature monitoring solution provider, the Cryo-Vacc™ can provide accurate temperature readings of the vaccines whilst in transit, as well as GPS tracking to ensure the custody chain can be audited.

An Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider, Beyond specialises in remote temperature monitoring and control, with a specific focus on the global public healthcare sector. The company has active deployments in over 70 countries.

“Our mission is to improve human health, quality of life, and secure humanity’s future by leveraging the power and reach of the Internet of Things (IoT). We believe that eradicating poverty, hunger and inequality starts with preventing disease,” said Ian Lester, Founder and CEO of Beyond.

“It’s simple - healthy communities are happier, safer and more prosperous. We are proud to partner with Renergen on Cryo-Vacc™.”

Validation of the Cryo-VaccTM in anticipated deployment situations will commence shortly, but Renergen has already commenced discussions for the sale of units to logistics companies outside of the South African Development Community (SADC).