While visiting the rural communes of northern Vietnam, Bruce McCormick, an American entrepreneur, saw a way to completely reshape the landscape of vaccine distribution. To replace the slow, centralized system found not only in Vietnam, but around the world, where supply chain delays can cost lives, he’s going to bring vaccines closer to where they’re needed most, and he’s going to do it with heat and ice.
In Vietnam, hepatitis B runs rampant, as it does throughout much of Southeast Asia. It’s a viral disease more infectious than HIV and easily transmissible from mother to child during birth, which can lead to a life-long infection that wrecks the liver. But it’s also a treatable disease; if infants can be vaccinated within 24 hours of being born, they have a 95 percent chance of growing up free from the virus, according to the World Health Organization.
To make sure newborns get treated right away, vaccines need to reach the point of care quickly. Delivering vaccines to remote areas is exactly what concerns McCormick, who is president of SAVSU Technologies, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based company that makes containers to store and transport medical supplies.
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