The COVID-19 pandemic has brought vaccines to the forefront of public attention, and the world is becoming increasingly interested in how vaccines are made, stored, and distributed.
Today, we will examine how companies use a vacuum to purify vaccines.
- Purification of Vaccines
Purification is critical throughout the vaccine production process, and an ultra-high-speed centrifuge helps with this stage. It is possible because of the varying settling coefficients or buoyancy density of the components inside the mixture.
High rotating rates of more than 30,000 RPM are required to separate the active species from undesirable impurities. Such high spinning speeds generate heat by causing air friction inside the mixture. It has the potential to harm the active components. To overcome this, heat from the mixture is extracted using high vacuum pump systems that ideally include a dry vacuum pump and a turbomolecular pump (TMP).
- Vaccine Freeze-drying and Storage
Vaccines are mostly composed of active enzymes and microorganisms. Freeze-drying is used to preserve these components and guarantees that the vaccine remains effective.
A vacuum is then introduced, along with some heat, to cause the ice to sublime from solid to vapor. Because of the low temperature of the sublimation process, the vaccine components stay active and unharmed.
After that, the freeze-dried vaccine may be vacuum-sealed and stored, which offers the benefits of long shelf life, quick dilution with diluent during use, and unaltered recovery properties. Vacuum storage is now the most popular method for preserving live vaccines.
- Production of Vacuum Glass Vials
The vaccination is administered into glass vials before being transported and distributed. The right glass must be used to maintain the vaccine's effectiveness; only low borosilicate glass possesses the necessary chemical stability. Additionally, this glass offers outstanding resistance to thermal expansion and contraction, which is crucial for storage at temperatures below ambient.
Vacuum is required in two phases of the borosilicate vial manufacturing process:
- A vacuum, which usually runs at a pressure of roughly 50 mbar, is utilized throughout the melting process to eliminate air trapped in the glass. Issues like glass dust and high temperatures also need to be handled.
Traditionally, liquid ring pumps have been employed. But to lower operating expenses, oil rotary vane and screw pumps are being used more frequently. There is an oil-free option in dry screw pumps.
- Vacuum levels of roughly 100 mbar are required for the molding process. Short pump downtimes and continuous operation are critical. Oil rotary vane, screw, and dry screw pumps are becoming more popular.
- Transportation and Storage of Vaccines
Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) are essential for transporting COVID-19 vaccines. For instance, Pfizer BioNTech's vaccine needs to be stored at -60°C. This temperature is extremely difficult to maintain.
VIPs provide a solution to keep these temperatures steady while using less energy. With a typical container wall thickness of 25–60mm, VIP delivers an extremely low thermal conductivity of 0.004W (m.K). Comparatively, the value of 150mm of traditional mineral wool would be 0.04W. (m.K).
This results in increased efficiency and storage space within the refrigeration unit.
VIP has three parts: an insulating substance, a gas adsorption material (Getter), and a closed insulating sheet (barrier). The remarkable insulation qualities of this insulating barrier are achieved by pumping it to a high vacuum level before sealing.
The high-speed Fore vacuum pump reduces the time before the High Vacuum pump kicks in, allowing for quick panel turnaround.
Vacuum technology saves lives in the medical sector, from the COVID-19 vaccination to the surgery room. And A-VAC Industries is the best place to get your vacuum pump. We have more than 50 years of experience and several quality products and competitive prices. Contact us for more information!