New research to assess sheep’s wool for packaging and shipping vaccines

Market Drayton, UK:  A UK government initiative is to back research and development of sheep’s wool packaging for pharmaceuticals in a bid to combat growing vaccine waste, reports Healthcare Packaging.

The Wool Packaging Company says it has been awarded a six-figure grant by the Technology Strategy Board to focus on a specialised pharmaceuticals version of its Woolcool insulated packaging product to protect temperature-sensitive vaccines in transit.

The Woolcool product was originally designed to provide sustainable insulated packaging for the delivery of fresh and frozen foods. The company now supplies food retailers nationwide, from Abel & Cole to Fortnum and Mason. The product range includes insulated courier boxes, pouches, and envelopes.

The insulated packaging maintains stable internal temperatures between 2°C and 8°C for over 72 hours, says the Wool Packaging Company and provides cushioning protection for fragile contents, such as vaccine vials. The company says: “These two factors alone demonstrate how important the grant to further research and develop the concept could prove in tackling the challenges of distributing vaccines so they arrive in a fit condition for use.” The products are said to provide sustainability because sheep’s wool is a naturally effective insulation available in abundance worldwide, and is compostable.

The World Health Organization estimates that there is over 50% wastage in vaccines globally.

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