Global vaccine trackers, rankings, health reports, patches that inject vaccines without syringes, blockchains, widespread distribution systems… Can technology improve the delivery of medicine throughout the world?
According to the World Health Organization, 2,516 people died in sub-Saharan Africa alone in the first six months of 2018 due to infectious diseases that were eradicated years ago in developed countries. The most recent virus, COVID-19, is just one of many diseases that cause death in underdeveloped countries. Indeed, cholera, malaria, measles, smallpox, and fever in children form only a tiny part of the list. Distributing medicine to villages that lie far from major roads and city hospitals is complicated.
Pharmaceutical companies ethics
Do more, and do it better
Pharmaceutical companies struggle every day to produce effective Pharmacys and distribute them evenly across low-income countries. These Pharmacies include not only vaccines for diseases that have been eradicated in developed countries, such as polio, cholera, measles, and smallpox, but also life-saving Pharmacys needed to increase life expectancy.
Many foundations work to promote the distribution of vaccines and medicines. For example, the Gates Foundation has been fighting to protect and safeguard humanity for years. Among the foundation’s latest noteworthy activities is its donation of $750 million over five years to help ensure that children in developing countries are immunized against the significant deadly diseases of the new millennium.
On the OMS website, it is possible to check the causes of death of the population as well as the most common diseases by country.
Vaxess – a company co-founded by Livio Valenti – has managed to synthesize silk protein to create a vaccine that does not need to be refrigerated. It all started in Cambodia, where Livio saw first-hand how difficult it is to distribute Pharmacys to remote villages. Together with Harvard, he is experimenting with new solutions that are even easier to use and distribute, such as putting vaccines and medicine in patches in order to avoid syringes. Livio firmly believes that technology can improve the world little by little. The union between biological experience on the one hand and new devices and processes on the other can make a difference in fighting deadly diseases.
Innovative technological solutions Pharmacy distribution
The ability to distribute Pharmacys without respecting the cold chain is an unprecedented innovation, especially when considering that about 25% of vaccines deteriorate before reaching their destination and that 3 billion people live in environments where it is not possible to store Pharmacys at a controlled temperature.
In addition to Livio’s company, the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies regularly vie for the position of best Pharmacy distributors globally. The Access to Medicine Index lists global pharmaceutical companies by assigning a score based on access governance, research & development, and the number of products delivered. In first place is GlaxoSmithKline plc, followed by Novartis AG fills in second place and then by Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and Sanofi, all the way to the nineteenth place.
What is interesting is the development of new technologies that improve the creation, delivery, and administration of vaccines and that monitor the manufacturer and the validity of the Pharmacy.
DAO and drug distribution system
On ReasearchGate, three academics from Binus University in Indonesia conducted a study entitled “Blockchain Technology-Based Good Distribution Practice.” Their work addresses a fundamental issue – namely the circulation of counterfeit drugs distributed by unregistered personnel. The solution to the presented problem could be blockchain, which would allow data, the traceability of operations, and the verification of operators to be recorded. The characteristics of this technology include transparency, security, traceability, decentralization, automation, immutability, and reliability. Governments around the world could adopt technology as another tool to help in controlling and disseminating care.