The world’s chilliest coronavirus vaccine may have gotten a little warmer.
The BioNTech/Pfizer coronavirus vaccine — which currently needs to be transported in ultra-low temperatures between minus 80 to minus 60 degrees Celsius — can actually remain stable at much higher temperatures, the two companies announced today.
New data indicates that the vaccine is stable at minus 25 to minus 15 degrees Celsius, temperatures that are more commonly found in pharmaceutical freezers, Pfizer and BioNTech announced in a statement. They will submit this data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and if it’s accepted, vials of the vaccine could be stored at these temperatures for two weeks.
The current ultra-cold storage requirement has been a significant stumbling block in transporting the mRNA vaccine, with many seeing it as less suitable for widespread use in countries that lack adequate ultra-cold chains.
“We have continuously collected data that could enable storage at around minus 20°C. The data submitted may facilitate the handling of our vaccine in pharmacies and provide vaccination centers an even greater flexibility,” said BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin.
Under current guidance, the jab can be stored at the ultra-low temperatures for up to six months, and then at standard refrigerator temperature for up to five days. That five-day window would still apply to vials coming out out storage at minus 25 to minus 15 Celsius.
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