Traditionally, cryogenic PPE is primarily needed in laboratories and industrial applications where handling of liquid nitrogen and other cryogenic materials takes place.
The need for cryo gloves, however, is expected to increase dramatically in the coming months, as pharmaceutical companies rush to develop and then widely distribute effective vaccines against COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines could require “cold chain distribution”
The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently published this article about vaccine logistics. In the article, organic chemist and pharmaceutical expert Derek Lowe writes that the COVID-19 vaccination will likely require “cold chain distribution.” In the author’s words, this is “…the distribution system for things (like most vaccines) that need to be kept refrigerated until they’re used in the clinic.”
The reason, according to publications such as MarketWatch, is that leading vaccine candidates are expected to require storage between -4° and -94° degrees Fahrenheit.
On the front end of the distribution chain, this may not pose a large problem, as cold storage warehouse and trucks are already in existence. But further down the chain, where the vaccines are delivered to stand-alone clinics and pharmacies, special arrangements must be made.
The World Health Organization outlines detailed guidelines on the transport of vaccines, including the use of low temperature freezers (LTFs) such as cold boxes and vaccine carriers. These typically utilize ice packs to keep vaccines at proper temperatures for an extended time.
Considering the extremely low temperatures COVID-19 vaccines are likely to require, however, ice packs will not be enough. Therefore, experts anticipate that the use of dry ice will become commonplace.
Cold chain distribution requires high-quality PPE
Our initial findings predict that in the field, delivery personnel will be required to handle dry ice when packing LTFs for delivery.
Since dry ice sublimates at −109.3 °F, it can cause dangerous burns if handled improperly. As such, dry ice gloves will become essential equipment.
While primarily designed for use as liquid nitrogen gloves, Tempshield’s wrist length Cryo-Gloves® also make excellent gloves for handling dry ice. They provide the extreme temperature protection required, plus offer industry-leading durability, dexterity, and fit.
“COVID vaccines, which will include live organisms, will be transported locally in this country in many cases, in vessels utilizing dry ice,” explained Tempshield President Jim Woldenberg. “The people handling the vessels will need reliable burn protection. Tempshield offers a broad range of products that meet and exceed the requirements of this new application, including our aprons, gaiters, and of course the original Cryo-Gloves.”