Many pharmaceutical and agricultural products require specific temperature ranges for degrading or expiring prevention.
That’s nothing new, especially for the food and beverage industry, which has been shipping temperature-sensitive food products for many decades.
Pharmaceutical companies have also had to contend with rigid storage requirements for medical products, but that challenge has taken on new complexities due to the development of COVID-19 vaccines.
Many COVID-19 vaccines require ultra-low temperature storage, including the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine.
That means temperatures lower than conventional freezers can reach. Specifically, the Pfizer COVID vaccine must have storage at a temperature range between -90 and -60 degrees Celsius.
This ultra-low storage temperature range represents a challenge for companies like Pfizer to get their vaccines to healthcare facilities and patients.
Since many supply chain professionals and healthcare facilities cannot access ultra-low temperature freezers, equipment, and infrastructure, Pfizer has devised unique supply chain solutions.
For example, to ship COVID vaccines, Pfizer uses a specialized shipping container equipped with dry ice to keep temperatures extremely low. Dry ice can typically get temperatures in storage containers as low as 70 degrees Celsius.
Therefore, consider these shipping containers IoT devices since they contain hardware infrastructure that connects them to the internet. IoT products are already playing a significant role in vaccine storage and distribution.
Pfizer’s shipping containers can pass data to the manufacturer regarding the delivery status of vaccines.
However, healthcare workers receiving vaccine shipments must confirm that the shipping container was delivered successfully using a visual interface, which sends a confirmation alert to the manufacturer.
These specialized shipping containers also contain internal ambient temperature monitors and data loggers, which regulate internal temperatures.
More broadly, data loggers are crucial IoT devices that help facilitate the transportation and storage of many different types of vaccines.
Let’s explore the role of data loggers as IoT devices that enable the cold storage of vaccines.
Data Loggers and IoT Devices for Vaccine Cold Chain Storage
The creation and maintenance of temperature-controlled supply chains in the industry are cold chain storage. Cold chain storage systems rely on devices such as data loggers to function optimally. Data loggers are small electronic devices that collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, and pressure from their surroundings.
Data loggers record this data and typically store it on their internal memory, where it can later be transferred to computers or hard drives so that it can be stored, analyzed, and formatted. In addition, some data loggers are potential IoT devices because they can transmit data over the internet.
Data loggers are crucial because they monitor vaccines’ internal storage conditions to ensure that improper temperatures do not expose medical products. They can also help achieve an appropriate pharmacy room temperature range for sensitive pharmaceutical products, as Dickson notes.
For many companies, this is not merely a quality assurance requirement but also a compliance necessity. Many regulatory agencies require pharmaceutical companies to submit temperature storage data to protect patients from hazardous or impotent pharmaceutical products. Traditionally, this temperature data has been stored on the data logger’s internal memory, transferred to the pharmaceutical company’s IT infrastructure, analyzed, formatted, and then submitted to regulators.
The Benefits of Data Loggers and Pharma Cloud Computing
Today, however, many companies use internet-enabled data loggers that can transmit temperature data online. Moreover, since geographical space or distance does not bind online data transmission, these devices can send data to remote data centers. As a result, many pharmaceutical companies are finding it makes sense to rent out IT and database infrastructure from pharma cloud computing providers.
Many cloud service providers are on the market today, and many of the world’s largest tech companies have begun offering cloud service solutions. Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Cloud are examples of leading cloud service solutions available today. In addition, many pharmaceutical companies have found that renting cloud storage from cloud service providers allows them to cut the costs of buying, maintaining, and upgrading their own IT infrastructure.
Many internet-connected data loggers can become configured to send management alerts if internal temperatures are outside acceptable ranges. In addition, some data loggers have additional capabilities, such as detecting when doors to freezers or storage units have been left open. This feature can be critical when transporting temperature-sensitive products like vaccines, which could be irreparably damaged if storage temperatures rise.
In addition to helping companies save on maintaining and upgrading their IT infrastructure costs, pharma cloud computing can make data more easily shareable and organized. That’s because, by definition, data stored on the cloud already exists online and can more easily be accessed by devices with sufficient privileges.
Rather than downloading and uploading data sets multiple times, qualified parties can receive digital permission to access that data on the internet. The shareability of pharma cloud computing makes it clear why it is one of the many technologies that seem destined to become a more significant part of our lives.
Real-Time Temperature Monitoring and Alerts
Another vital advantage of IoT data loggers and cloud storage for pharmaceutical companies is that they can give managers the ability to monitor storage temperatures in real-time. However, it is not valid for traditional loggers that record temperature data on their internal memory. Instead, data stored on internal memory is extracted and analyzed at a later time.
That means that managers will know if storage temperatures rose outside appropriate ranges, but they will not necessarily know that immediately. Instead, managers will only find out about temperature deviations when they extract and analyze data from that period.
In contrast, companies that use internet-connected data loggers and cloud storage could view the temperatures of storage facilities in real time. They could even set up alerts informing them of temperature deviations immediately, which can position companies to minimize product wastage and expensive product recalls and why it represents one of the many ways technology is improving business practices.
To wrap up, it’s clear that cold chain management has always been important for many essential sectors of the economy. However, given the specific requirements of modern vaccines and pharmaceuticals, special IoT tools and cloud storage solutions are necessary to uphold quality assurance standards and meet compliance requirements.