The advent of track and trace technology has been a true game changer for the durability of products across all supply chains, and is perhaps about to live out its best days yet with just how integral it will prove to be with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the world eagerly waits for vaccines to roll out, figuring out the logistics of transporting billions of vaccine doses is as pressing an issue as figuring out the vaccine itself. Vaccines are mostly transported by air and road with many stops and storage points with distributors before finally arriving at the end point, where once again doses are stored in the required cold storage facilities. The entire supply chain consists of multiple transfer points including both manufacturing and administration sites.
The last mile of the supply chain to the actual healthcare provider could be completed in the form of a transport vehicle and sometimes even on the back of a donkey or camel. Most vaccines will completely lose their purpose if they are in an environment that is too warm or even too cold and outside of their temperature range. According to the IATA’s (International Air Transport Association) Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics, around a quarter of vaccines lose their effectiveness by the time they reach their healthcare providers because of incorrect shipping procedures, and a significant 20% of biopharmaceutical products that are sensitive to temperature are damaged and completely deteriorate during cold chain transport.
Aside from the possible loss of opportunity for those in need of vaccines, the annual incurred financial loss of vaccines damaged due to temperature issues are estimated to be a whopping $34.1 billion, this includes the costs of lost products, replacements, as well as wasted logistics outlay. And although there is much to speculate about a vaccine that does not entirely exist yet, it is safe to say that all vaccines fall under the cold chain product category and so will the string of the COVID-19 vaccines. As this pandemic continues to challenge most aspects of most industries, vaccine manufacturers, suppliers and perhaps most importantly logistic providers cannot risk even a 20% loss while attempting to safely transport these coveted doses.
Luckily the implementation of real time visibility and monitoring of temperature changes through the technology of track and trace, cloud storage and Blockchain is already in place in many supply chains all over the world, and can systematically be implemented for the logistical transportation of the vaccine. This will allow for prevention of any damage to vaccine doses because of unfavourable temperature conditions.
Enabling IoT sensors in supply chains which rely on the infrastructure of real-time monitoring and visibility allow for processes like continuous data transmission, and a data tracking system which could potentially produce a digital twin tasked with mapping out the transit history of the product in real time. This gives stakeholders access to real time data, creating an opportunity to immediately correct a foreseeable problem, and is already actively in use in the case of some biopharmaceutical logistics.
Another focal part of COVID-19 treatment research has been through the use of antibodies from those who have recovered from the virus. These antibodies exist in the plasma, otherwise known as the liquid component of human blood. The process of storing plasma is temperature sensitive. Through enabling temperature tracking while actually transporting this donor plasma to research facilities has allowed to reduce wastage of plasma that could have otherwise been used to aid in research.
With these tracking and monitoring technologies in place, healthcare providers that will potentially receive the vaccine will have the opportunity to review the entire temperature journey thus far and will immediately be able to configure if the vaccine doses are still intact, as will the manufacturers. This aspect of the correct logistical transportation of vaccine doses will be integral in avoiding wastage, and will actually prove to be one of the core factors which have a direct impact on disease control.
Nazar enables You to know where each box of vaccine has been and how it was stored. By scanning a box label, you can immediately tell whether it has suffered any mishandling. Contact us to learn more!