Developing new medicines is vital to improving global health. But getting these medicines to patients who need them without compromising quality is just as important. That can be a challenge.
The World Health Organization estimates that 25-50% of global vaccines are wasted annually, largely due to improper refrigeration en route. In India alone, a study found that as much as 76 percent of tracked vaccine vials failed quality tests because of improper storage during transport.
Fortunately, researchers at the Global Good Fund – managed by Intellectual Ventures – are on the case. They developed the Artek cooler with an advanced design and high-efficiency insulation materials to keep vaccines cold for more than a month without the need for power.
The coolers are already saving lives. Global Good donated Artek coolers to get vaccines to patients during the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The Artek cooler has been used to store vaccines for tuberculosis, polio, influenza, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and diphtheria. It is being field tested with more than 50 devices in Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
For its role in advancing global health, Global Good’s Artek cooler received a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 2016 Patents for Humanity Award.
Creators of the Patents for Humanity program hope that showcasing the inspiring work of inventors – and underscoring how patents power and protect new ideas – will inspire others to approach the world’s challenges in new and innovative ways.