July 4, 2009



Request for Information on Veterinary Vaccine Utilization in Sub-Saharan Africa


By Thomas P. Monath, MD


We need help from the veterinary community in solving a critical problem for human vaccines. This is a major opportunity for One Health.


A novel vaccine for protection of infants against malaria, the greatest killer in Africa, is in clinical development by a U.S. biotechnology company, Sanaria Inc. and is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This new vaccine is composed of attenuated malaria parasites (sporozoites) and requires storage at ultra low temperature (in vaporized liquid nitrogen). 


If the new vaccine meets expectations and provides high-grade protection against malaria it could save millions of lives. However, the method of storage and distribution represent a challenge. Current childhood vaccines delivered to infants in Africa require a cold chain (using mechanical freezers and refrigerators).. A significant change to the cold chain system to accommodate vapor-phase liquid nitrogen would be required to implement the new malaria vaccine in the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI).


On the other hand, some veterinary vaccines are distributed in this way in Africa. We are seeking detailed information from our veterinary colleagues on their experience in storing, transporting and delivering vaccines for livestock and poultry in Africa utilizing vapor-phase liquid nitrogen. This experience could inform the medical community on the potential distribution of the attenuated sporozoite vaccine.


Information that would be useful includes:

1) Which vaccines are distributed in vapor-phase liquid N2

2) Level of organization of vaccine distribution within countries and standardization of methods across Africa

3) Availability of liquid N2 and transport boxes

4) Anecdotal information and specific studies on the economics and practicality of vapor-phase liquid N2

5) Comparative advantages and disadvantages of liquid N2 over other methods.

6) If veterinary vaccines are so unstable as to require liquid N2 storage, what are the requirements for use after thawing these products?


 Please address comments as soon as possible to:

 Bruce Kaplan, DVM


Thank you…