How IoT is Helping to Safely Deliver COVID-19 Vaccines to The World

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To add to the many autumnal pleasantries of November, this week we’ve been given a sizeable shred of hope that by spring 2021, life might return back to the old normal we’ve all missed so much. The early reports have suggested that the vaccine has offered 90% protection to the test groups meaning we may be able to start dusting off our dancing shoes in the new year – great news!

Between then and now however there’s a hefty sum of work to be done, and while hard-working scientists are, quite rightly, celebrating the win, the global battle to provide the people of the world with a vaccine continues. So, what does the map to a happy, healthy and coronavirus-free society look like and how is IoT helping to accommodate it?

Well, there’s still plenty that needs to happen; mass production, shipping and delivery of the vaccine is, of course, no simple feat, but with the power of IoT technology there are some crafty ways of speeding up the process and making the covid-19 vaccine deployment as efficient as possible…

Temperature Monitoring Within Lab Environments And Transport

As reported by the BBC, logistics and manufacturing are two of the biggest challenges with globally delivering the vaccine. Laboratory standardisation plays a huge role in this as the vaccine must be kept in extremely cold temperatures – minus 80C to be precise.

Fridges, freezers and incubators in scientific environments can be incredibly sensitive to temperature changes (especially when it comes to vaccine development), so it’s super important to keep a close eye on them and make sure nothing changes.

Not only that but the transportation and delivery of vaccines requires meticulous temperature control too (buzzword warning: it’s called ‘cold chain management’) – in fact, failure to do so can result in some vaccines becoming ‘potentially dangerous’. What that means is vaccines moving through the supply chain will require the same level of monitoring and controlling as vaccines in the lab – and sure enough, the best way of doing that is with intelligent asset monitoring.

TLDR; IoT technology is assisting lab technicians by helping to keep laboratory temperatures standardised and is ultimately helping protect the important science happening behind closed doors.

Remote Access to Devices And Real-Time Alerting

Imagine a world where scientists would have to manually adjust thermostats all day, making sure they don’t drop under certain thresholds and tweaking them when necessary. Well, outside of IoT-assisted labs, that’s reality. But for all the labs that are assisted by IoT, fancy-looking dashboards and alert systems mean that at the push of a button, scientists have access to all the thermo-regulatory data they need to complete experiments with maximum standardisation. Hurrah!

Laboratory Automation – The Smart-Lab!

Unfortunately, nobody is perfect, and as with anything, human error plays its role in even the most successful scientific advancements. Luckily, IoT in the lab environment helps to mitigate that by allowing smart-labs to automate processes that don’t require human intervention. Schedules can be set between communicating devices to ensure efficiency soars at high levels, while errors and human mistakes are massively reduced.

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IoT plays a huge role in the life sciences sector, and at Hark it’s something we care a lot about because we’ve worked with laboratories – in fact, our lab sensors take 288,000 readings per day to ensure environments are kept standardised! Consistency is absolutely fundamental in the delivery of medical products which is why IoT sensors and reporting are FDA CFR 11 compliant meaning that the use of digital recording methods is recognised as safe industry practice. Furthering that, record taking and accountability also play a serious role within labs, so another sneaky bonus of IoT-assisted laboratories is the provision of an audit trail with real-time data. If anything ever goes wrong, we know exactly where, when and why. Magic!

Want to know more about intelligent asset monitoring? Cool, just click this link!

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Carlos Nisbet
Carlos Nisbet

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