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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: India Hopes for a Hot Weather COVID-19 Vaccine

AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File

Researchers around the world are continuing to work on a vaccine for COVID-19. A team in India is focusing on an even more challenging project: a vaccine that can tolerate hot weather.

The hurdles for any vaccine against COVID-19 are immense. But for India, and several other parts of the globe, there’s an additional challenge: heat.

Most vaccines need to be kept cold as they are transported and stored.

In parts of India, outdoor temperatures can rise to more than 115-degrees Fahrenheit.

Medical professionals already deal with this reality for other vaccines in India that need to be kept in a temperature range of the low 30’s Fahrenheit. They use what’s called a “cold chain” for transporting vaccines — from refrigerated trucks to portable freezer boxes. 

The BBC reports that some of the COVID-19 vaccines in development need to be kept even colder.

A team at the Indian Institute of Science is working on a vaccine that could tolerate temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a month.

The Times of India reports the group’s paper detailing its research has been accepted by The Journal of Biological Chemistry — a peer-reviewed publication put out by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The potential impact of a hot weather vaccine could be enormous in India, which has an underserved rural population and the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world.

With more than 8-million cases, India trails only the United States.

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