EMVOLIO : A solution to reduce wastage of both routine and COVID-19 vaccines
The covid-19 vaccines are a blessing in disguise for millions of people in the deadly pandemic. Everyone is waiting for their turn to get vaccinated. However, the precious doses and hopes of people have gone to waste all over the country.
According to estimates of the World Health Organisation, as many as half of the vaccines in previous campaigns all over the world have gone to dump yards, the only reasons were miss handling, unclaimed or expired. The lifesaving vaccines that have been tossed remains largely unknown. This happens during distribution, mostly at the last stage of delivery; the thermal degradation of these sensitive vaccines is due to poor temperature control. The robust cold chain equipment is required to maintain the efficiency and potential of all the vaccines including the COVID-19 vaccines. Especially, in the last mile of the long and difficult journey.
A Manipal based start-up BlackFrog technologies has made a movable temperature regulated carrier, for the safe transport of vaccines and other products like blood serums, specimens and medication till the destination. It is named the machine Emvolio. It will set the seal on no vaccine getting wasted at last-mile delivery. BIRAC and Tata Trusts also support this start-up. BlackFrog Technology works in partnership with SILCO Foundation and SVYM Hospital. The start-up is also having a conversation with government officials about the arrangement of this solution.
Earlier, the iceboxes were used throughout the journey of vaccines. Recently, four states in India- Manipur, Bihar, Karnataka and Tamil Naidu have replaced the traditional ice boxes with Emvolio. It will corroborate that vaccines maintain their efficiency till they reach the destination.
Covidshield and Covaxin, are the widely preferred vaccines in India. Both of them are freeze-sensitive and required to be stowed and delivered are temperatures of 2 to 8 degree Celsius. Emvolio is delineated as per WHO PQS E003 specification. It’s sewed up the maintenance of pre-set temperatures, over 12 hours.
Emvolio is a battery power device, offering a 2-litre capacity. It can tote almost 30-50 veils, standard for immunization drive of the entire 1 day.
In the past month, this start-up made sure that more than 1580 vaccines reach over a fortnight-long inoculation drive in Mysore. The vaccines were protected from thermal degradation and were efficient.
In April, the Office, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and with CSR support from the HT Parekh Foundation, provided a move. In the move, 100 Emvolio units are to be manufactured and distributed in North East Indian States, like Assam and Manipur.
These 100 units will be disseminated in June, and the Blackfrog team, in collaboration with C-CAMP Bangalore, “……is working relentlessly to ensure these devices reach the far-flung areas of Assam and Manipur” Mayur Shetty, CEO and Co-Founder, BlackFrog says in an interview.
“Donson D’Souza and Ashlesh Bhat, are two other Co-founders who also led a team. This team is preparing additional 50 units for Bengaluru and Tamil Nadu for another project”, he added.
“Beyond that, any large-scale procurement would certainly be through the government of India itself, and we are in talks with officials for this. COVID-19 vaccination is going to go on for a while: it’s not something that we are going to overcome in the current year or next year. So, the process of immunisation is going to continue. However, our product and soluhaven have been developed with government support and taxpayers money. So, it’s not just about COVID-19, but about the entire immunisation schedule and ensuring that India’s overall immunisation programme is strengthened with our solution,” he explained.
Emvolio is indeed the result of perseverance, hard work and dedication o a five-year-old startup. It improved the efficiency of immunisation supply chains. It also makes sure a robust, unbroken cold chain system is there. Department of Biotechnology’s BIRAC, Qualcomm, and impact investors such as Social Alpha and Venture Capital have held the back of the startup in the development of the movable, biomedical-grade refrigeration device. It is made after deep and qualitative research for consecutive three years.
“We have designed it as per the specifications laid out by the World Health Organisation. So, it can be easily used by any healthcare professionals under varied geographic conditions. India is the best place to judge such machines, as we have everything from deserts to mountains to the coastal regions, so we’ve tested it in almost all geographies. So, it is adaptable in multiple setups and with the potential to create global impact,” Mayur briefed.
Emvolio is designed in such a way to solve the problems of hot regions such as Africa and South Asia, and cold regions like Eastern Europe where freezing is a problem. From a monetary point of view, the brand is focusing on the deployment in laboratories and pathology clinical requirements too.
“A small part of the product is to help humankind get out of this pandemic, with a higher pace than we otherwise would have. “- Mayur said. He added he wants to reduce the economic burden of wastage of vaccines during the last-mile delivery.