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Liquid could aid vaccine storage and use

11:32am, May 14, 2002

From Baltimore, Md., at the Annual Conference on Vaccine Research

A new medium for vaccines could remove hurdles that impede immunization campaigns in poor countries. The innovation could eliminate, for most if not all vaccines, the need to either refrigerate or rehydrate doses before use, says Bruce J. Roser of the England-based firm Cambridge Biostability.

Most current vaccines spoil unless they're kept cold. That adds considerable expense and complexity to immunization campaigns in regions where electricity is scarce, says Bruce Weniger of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Some vaccines can instead be dehydrated for storage, but it takes trained health-care workers in the field to reconstitute them as liquids that can be administered.

To circumvent the need for either refrigeration or field preparation, Roser and his colleague Shevanti Sen turned to perfluorocarbons, which are chemically stable, nontoxic liquids.

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