By Marc Kavinsky, Editor at IoT Business News.
As the global pandemic brought the world to a halt, the entire humanity counted on the pharmaceutical industry for an effective solution against the virus. Fortunately, it took only a year for scientists to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Now when the vaccine is approved for usage, the problems started appearing in logistics for distribution, shipping, and storage.
IoT and blockchain development platforms could offer some ease – and might change the way pharmaceutical companies store and ship their vaccines forever. According to the Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics of the International Air Transport Association nearly 20% of biopharmaceutical products are degraded during shipping.
This rate of degradation could be very devastating during these hard times. With the help of blockchain-based solutions and IoT sensors for supply chain management over a secure and managed database, asset tracking, and real-time monitoring, the world can easily ensure a successful vaccine distribution.
Blockchain and IoT provide great reliability in supply chain capabilities that were not even imaginable in the recent past!
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the world’s major supply chains failed not only for essential items such as hand-washing soaps and toilet papers but also for lifesaving ventilators and PPE kits in clinics and hospitals. With benefits of Blockchain and IoT technology, you can easily get distributed ledgers with audible records to track every asset in a supply chain. Have a look at these achievements:
- A research paper published by the Journal of Medical Systems revealed how blockchain can help people in the events of pandemics like COVID-19. The paper talks about how blockchain has helped to make diagnostics easier, donations transparent, prevention of false information spread, and eliminating the process of printing and delivering a letter.
- A journal published by JMIR Advancing Digital Health & Open Science Publications described how blockchain helps with the crisis of trust by providing a solution for data-related trust problems with its distribution network and cryptography-based security. The journal also states that blockchain makes tracking of medical supplies more efficient.
Everyone knows that the vaccines are approved for usage, but the major burden still lies in the hands of the logistics industry. They’re the ones who look after the storage, shipment, and most importantly, keeping it at a cool temperature.
It is important for clinicians, third-party logistics, and researchers in the supply chain to understand how they can apply IoT and Blockchain to help shipment.
What’s the Biggest Challenge in COVID-19 Vaccine Shipments?
Out of all the efforts, the two successful coronavirus vaccines – the Pfizer and Moderna – are required to be stored at sub-zero temperatures during storage and transportation. If they’re left outside the safe temperature range for a long time, the doses won’t be effective anymore. Moreover, Pfizer needs to be given within a few weeks after the first dose.
In case a patient needs to wait for more, the process needs to be started again. In an official meeting of Pfizer, the security officials raised concerns about counterfeit doses old by criminals by taking advantage of the crisis. With that said, even supply chains will be required to prove the legitimacy of their vaccine before delivering them to healthcare providers.
Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges with Blockchain
With the complexity of multifaceted supply chains, a company may find it hard to trace failures. However, with a reliable, transparent, and repeatable delivery system using the best blockchain development platform, the process can be made a lot easier. The practical cases involve using blockchain to secure critical data collected from IoT sensors to monitor the temperature.
Fulfilling Temperature Demands with IoT Technology
Vaccine logistics has always been a major challenge for the pharmaceutical industry, way before coronavirus even existed. Nearly 90% of available vaccines need to be stored under cold temperatures to prevent spoiling. IoT sensors are certainly a perfect solution to this problem because of their capability to track shipping environment data such as humidity, temperature, and vibration.
The innovative capabilities of the Blockchain and IoT technologies are already considered as an ideal strategy for vaccine distribution in the healthcare industry. It’s high time for all the members of the supply chain to begin using this modern-day technology. If applied perfectly, the impact of blockchain on the vaccines for coronavirus (or any other pandemic!) could be even better for drugs distributed and manufactured in the future. It’s certainly the future of the healthcare industry and contains endless possibilities to make vaccine shipment easier and more convenient for the world.