Efficient last-mile COVID-19 vaccine delivery in South India - A C-CAMP and Hitachi ABB Power Grids India partnership

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The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms, in partnership with Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India, will provide public healthcare systems in the Southern metros of Bengaluru, Mysuru, and Chennai with an indigenously developed, innovative, portable cold chain transport device for efficient vaccine delivery.

This C-CAMP-supported innovation integrates an emerging technology in cold chain with easy accessibility and operability features that can address the critical issue of last mile vaccine spoilage due to thermal degradation in commonly used iceboxes. Having already made some inroads in remote locations of North-eastern India with the technology, the CSR grant received from Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India will help C-CAMP introduce it to urban, semi-urban and rural primary healthcare centres (PHCs) in Southern India.

Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, C-CAMP CEO & Director, said, “According to a WHO report, more than 50 percent of vaccine wastage takes place during distribution, particularly at last-mile delivery.  We cannot afford such a colossal wastage at a time when the Nation is facing a severe shortfall in vaccines. Our partnership with Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India will help deploy an innovative new cold chain device to plug this enormous gap, ease logistics pressures and ensure 100 percent vaccine efficacy as we gear up to inoculate 1 billion plus people. The partnership is also a shining example of a global, ecosystem-driven PPP to not only provide immediate relief support to the affected but also bring India’s indigenous COVID care innovations to the limelight.”

N Venu, CEO and Managing Director of Hitachi ABB Power Grids in India, said, “India is striving to vaccinate over a billion people at a fast clip. Hence, every vial must be preserved well for full effectiveness. For that, we must address the need for last-mile cold chain carriers. With C-CAMP, we will lend support to much-needed innovations and also assist remote healthcare centres to relieve the economic burden of wasted vaccines. This is yet another way, we as part of India Inc., are putting our weight behind the country’s Covid-19 relief efforts.”

The innovation is a portable battery-operated medical-grade refrigeration unit whose unique selling propositions are pre-set temperatures, strict temperature-control and easy portability. Its thermoregulation properties are further boosted by advanced algorithms that have been proven to maintain a stable and uniform World Health Organization (WHO)-prescribed 2-80C temperature environment despite heavy handling and high/low ambient temperatures.

The patented technology assures vaccine viability for up to 12 hours which in turn guarantees efficacious vaccine administration as well as better reuse and recycling of unused vaccines from any batch.  Being geolocation tagged can considerably increase flexibility, tracking and traceability in the last-mile supply chain, making it ideal for variable demand as well as remote locations. Previous smaller deployments in remote PHCs in the North-East have demonstrated maximization of vaccine usage to 99 percent, making it a must-have technology to help India succeed in the world’s most massive vaccination effort. 

As a part of this project, C-CAMP will facilitate deployment at government health departments of Bengaluru, Mysuru, and Chennai over next six months.


June 15, 2021