Manipal firm develops portable chiller for last-mile delivery of Covid vaccine

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on November 05, 2020

Uses patented rapid cooling tech to maintain optimum temperature for safe storage

Blackfrog Technologies Pvt Ltd, a healthcare technology company incubated with Manipal Universal Technology Business Incubator of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), has developed a portable medical-grade refrigeration system for the effective transportation of vaccines.

Founded by Mayur Shetty (Chief Executive Officer), Donson D’Souza (Chief Operating Officer) and Ashlesh Bhat (Chief Technology Officer), Blackfrog Technologies has launched the vaccine carrier — ‘Emvolio Pro’ — designed specifically with Covid-19 vaccine deployment in mind.

Quoting studies, Mayur Shetty told BusinessLine that nearly 73 per cent of thermal degradation or wastage of vaccines happens in the last-mile itself, and Blackfrog is trying to address this problem. While a cold chain is well established in high end truck and planes, it has to go in a portable system to the last-mile like a primary health centre (PHC) in a village. That is where most of the wastage happens and the challenge has to be addressed, he said.

The company uses its patented rapid cooling technology to maintain the optimum temperature in the vaccine carrier between 2 degrees and 8 degrees.

Shetty said that the 2-litre capacity Emvolio Pro’ device can carry 30-50 vials of vaccines. With this, around 300-500 doses can be administered to people from a single device. Once charged for 3.5 hours, this 5.5-kg device can be used for 12-15 hours. Considering the power issues in some villages, the device has also been made to operate on solar energy.

Stating that a minimum of one lakh units is what would have been required under regular immunisation programme, he said the country is looking for around 5-8 lakh units for the current requirement. Blackfrog is now exploring options to scale-up its production capacity, he said.

Published on November 05, 2020

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