Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University has developed the ‘AutoVacc’ system, to draw COVID-19 vaccine doses from vials more efficiently and optimize lower-than-expected supplies.
Juthamas Ratanavaraporn, the lead researcher of the team at the university’s Biomedical Engineering Research Center, explained that currently the machine only works on AstraZeneca multi-dose vials and labels show each vial can provide 10 to 11 doses. The robotic arm of the machine can draw 12 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in four minutes from the vial or 20% more than the standard 10 doses drawn manually.
She said the extra 20% means that this machine can increase the number of doses to 1.2 million from AstraZeneca’s stated volume of 1 million, adding that the machine is also aimed at easing the workload of health workers.
Ms. Juthamas said while some health workers using low dead space syringes (LDSS) that aim to reduce wastage can draw up to 12 doses per vial, it requires manpower and a high level of skill. This could drain a lot of the health workers’ energy. They would have to do this every day for many months. (NNT)