Temperature sensitive vaccines can become ineffective if they are not kept between 2-8 degrees Centigrade. Currently they are delivered the last mile in cheap cool boxes and can easily be allowed to get too hot or too cold. At best these boxes can keep their precious load cool for about 7-9 hours. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 20% to 70% of vaccines are delivered ineffective through temperature damage. This means that there are over a million avoidable deaths each year, and millions of dollars wasted.
Isobar is a portable cooling device that ensures vaccines can be kept at the right temperature for over 100 hours off-grid in the harshest of conditions. Having travelled in Vietnam before university and after reading “ From the killing fields to the healing fields” by Howard F Clarke, vaccine delivery was an obvious choice for Will’s final year project at Loughborough Design School. During research for this project, Will discovered an obsolete cooling device, the Crossley Icyball based on Ammonia absorption technology originated by Einstein and Szilard. In September 2016 Isobar was runner-up in the McKinsey Venture Academy competition and won the UK James Dyson prize. The initial prototype was exhibited at the Science Museum in London.
Prize money from these competitions was spent on setting up Isobar Engineering Ltd and building test facilities to allow us to replicate WHO standard tests to confirm the viability of our solution. On 30 September 2017 we confirmed Isobar could keep a test load between 2-8c for over 100 hours.
Isobar is simple, robust and scalable and has many applications in disaster relief, emergency and military scenarios. We are currently focussing on the original 8kg backpack version and raising funds to produce working prototypes.