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Could Some Coronavirus Vaccines Be Left Out in the Cold?

By Keith Speights – Oct 27, 2020 at 8:08AM

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Some coronavirus vaccines must be stored at extremely low temperatures. Could this limit their market potential?

Safety and effectiveness are the most important qualities any successful coronavirus vaccine must have. Once those hurdles are cleared, other factors rise in importance -- especially any distribution and storage challenges. Some coronavirus vaccines must be kept in extremely cold temperatures. In this Fool Live video, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and longtime Motley Fool contributor Keith Speights discuss whether or not these vaccines could be left out in the cold because of their logistical limitations.

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Corinne Cardina: Okay. We have a lot of interesting questions and one person brought up, CN said, ''How much consideration is being given to cold chain management in your analysis? There is a race to deliver the electronics and maybe the gating factor and unlikely to be available in any volume prior to the second quarter of 21.'' Lots of concerns surrounding what the cold chain, can you tell us what the cold chain is first?

Keith Speights: Basically, some of these vaccines must be stored at extremely cold temperatures, sub-freezing temperatures, and especially the mRNA vaccines. Moderna's (MRNA -1.76%) and Pfizer's (PFE -0.63%) and BioNTech's (BNTX -1.62%) vaccines have to be stored under extremely cold temperatures.

That can be a problem. Let's say a physician's office doesn't have the equipment to store them at those temperatures. I think that's going to be a logistical limitation for those vaccines. I think we're likely to see government agencies do more of the distribution at least initially until, as the viewer mentioned, some of that equipment rolls out.

That wouldn't be as much of a problem for all of the vaccines. For example, Novavax's (NVAX -6.50%) vaccine wouldn't require that kind of cold storage requirement. I think it's going to be a factor. Will it be a huge roadblock for these vaccines? I don't think so because, honestly, if we get vaccines that are safe and effective, there's going to be a demand for them.

Corinne Cardina: Absolutely. Richard Miro has a relevant question. ''What companies make the cold storage equipment?'' I don't know the answer to that.

Keith Speights: That's a great question to which I also don't know the answer! But I'm going to make a note to start looking into that.

Corinne Cardina: That's a good strategy. I love it!

Corinne Cardina has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Keith Speights owns shares of Pfizer. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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