Chemical Engineering Professor Seongkyu Yoon is leading a project that focuses on developing a method to free-dry COVID vaccines. If successful, this could eliminate the need for vaccines, made my Moderna and Pfizer, to be refrigerated at low temperatures. In addition, this could help ease supply chain issues and help distribute vaccines to more people around the world by making them more transportable.
“That would be tremendously convenient for many people,” Yoon said. “Our goal is to develop a freeze-drying process that can be used for mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines to make them more stable and extend their shelf life, as well as make them easier to transport, store and use.”
Essentially, the liquid form of the vaccine would be converted into a powder through a process called lyophilization. The powder would still hold all the critical structure of the liquid vaccine and as well as its efficacy. Once it arrives at a distribution site, the power would be mixed with purified water for injection.
“So far, none of the COVID-19 vaccines has been able to be stored at room temperature, which makes our approach unique and very attractive,” Yoon said.
He added this project is a one-year project and expects to have tangible results by the end of that year.
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