DAEJEON, April 13 (Korea Bizwire) — A South Korean research team has developed new technology that enables users to easily check with their bare eyes whether COVID-19 vaccines from companies such as Pfizer Inc. and Moderna that need to be stored at low temperature are safely distributed.
Researchers from the state-run Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology said Monday that they had developed a new compound that changes color depending on temperature.
Whether the COVID-19 vaccines are stored and distributed safely at an adequate temperature can be checked by placing a container filled with this compound next to the vaccine bottle.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are composed of generic material called messenger RNA (mRNA), need to be stored at minus 70 and minus 20 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The research team developed a compound that can sense the change in temperature by mixing ethylene glycol and water in a ratio of 4:6 and adding a color pigment.
The melting point of this compound is minus 69 degrees Celsius. When it is exposed to a higher temperature, it turns from solid to liquid, with the color pigment spreading.
If the color pigment within the compound-filled container placed next to the Pfizer vaccine bottle spreads, it means the vaccine has been exposed to a temperature of higher than minus 69 Celsius.
Another formulation that makes use of sucrose instead of ethylene glycol can be employed to confirm the safe storage of the Moderna vaccine, which does not need to be kept as cold.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)