“The need for an unbroken cold chain is one of the biggest challenges to global vaccine access. The requirement for vaccines to be kept sufficiently cold during transport makes vaccine distribution to some countries extremely challenging, if not impossible. As such, vaccine developers have been devising all sorts of creative methods to tackle this issue. Here are four potentially game-changing innovations that seek to eliminate the need for the expensive cold chain.

1. Using silk to create heat-stable vaccines

For thousands of years humans have used silk to weave into luxurious textiles, but now Vaxess, a company founded by four students at Harvard University, plans to commercialise the novel use of fibroin protein derived from silk to help stabilise vaccines at high temperatures. Tufts University research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that self-standing silk protein biomaterial matrices could eliminate the need for the cold chain, and thus alleviate cold chain-associated constraints on global vaccine access. The silk-based technology would offer several advantages, including the use of an inexpensive source material and no chemical alteration of the vaccine. In May, the company announced that it has closed the first tranche of a $3.75 million Series A financing.”